Top Reasons You Haven’t Received Your Tax Refund in 2023

by Dan Sullivan

We all are concerned about our money, especially when we are hoping to get money from somewhere. Some people might not agree to it, but interest in the awaited money is as true as the Earth's rotation. It not only happens when we have to get money from a friend or business but also when it is time for tax refunds.

You might be thinking to yourself, "when will the tax refunds arrive?" many times when the date has arrived or passed. It is said that IRS processed above 155 million tax returns in December 2019, with an average refund of $2,869 for the year 2019.

What is a tax refund?

What is a tax refund?
What is a tax refund?

If you have just started paying your taxes and not well aware of the tax refunds, let us tell you about them. Every citizen needs to pay their taxes and file a tax return every year as proof of the given taxes. But, if there is any extra amount of tax paid to the federal or state government, the amount is reimbursed to the filer in the form of tax refunds. It can also be due to the reason that taxes are deducted from the paycheck every week, and thus the government owes you some tax refund. It is always a joyful thing when you get money in hand through any such media.

Facts about the Tax refund

  • A tax refund is usually given when you have overpaid your taxes
  • If you are an entrepreneur, you can calculate your tax returns and save from overpaying
  • If you are employed somewhere, you can take more care of form W-4 and keep it up to date
  • If you are a freelancer and have to file taxes every quarterly, you might miss on minor details to avoid spending much time on calculations and end up paying more

How to check tax refunds

The Internal Revenue Services is quite helpful when it comes to tax refunds and other matters. The official website of the IRS lets you check your tax refunds online through Check My Refund Status portal. Visit the IRS website and enter relevant details like your filing status, Social security number, and refund amount to check the status of your tax refunds. Not only the site enables you to check your tax refund status online, but it also assists you in any refund related issues.

The tax refund status can be checked online, when:

  1. You have mailed your tax returns 4 weeks back.
  2. You have e-filed your taxes 24 hours prior.

The IRS also provides an app to keep updated with the tax refunds.

Get the iOS or the Android app for your comfort.

Why haven't you received your tax refund?

You might be waiting for your tax refund impatiently. But, if it is taking time to arrive, it is worth considering that there might be one or more factors contributing to the delay. You can find out the status of your tax refund through the app or website, yet they are not able to inform you of the reason for the delay . However, if you are wondering what could be the cause of the delay, it could either be filing your tax returns at the last minute or one of these:

1. Incomplete tax returns

Incomplete tax returns
Incomplete tax returns

You can call this as one of the significant reasons for delayed tax refunds, particularly if you are filing your tax return through the paper. Many times people miss out on any part of the document while filling it that can be a major cause of not getting your tax returns at the time. For example, you might be filling your form, and you forgot to add your Social Security Number, or you have not put your proper name as per the documents. Any missing piece of information has to be forwarded to the IRS, which can take weeks or even months to process your returns.

2. Inaccurate information

Work done in a hurry can be incomplete as well as inaccurate. While filing your tax returns, there are significant chances of typos or writing at the wrong line, which can lead to information in the wrong space considered to be inaccurate. If you are filling up your tax returns manually, you might calculate your taxes wrong or skip any line and pen the information in the next one. These mistakes can be avoided by e-filing, yet it has its considerations for form filling.

When you make a mistake in the form, the IRS has to review it to match with your database. This work is effort and time consuming, leading to a delay of weeks or months in the tax refund.

3. Incorrect bank information

Entering your bank number correctly on the form is as important as putting your name because you know the consequences of adding a wrong bank account number. Filing your tax returns through the internet can be very convenient, especially if you are using a direct deposit method to receive your tax refund. But sometimes this can land you in serious trouble. If you miss any digit or enter a single wrong digit of your bank account number , your money will be transferred to the account number you entered. Missing or entering an incorrect figure can cost you months as the identification and transfer of funds back to you can take a fairly long time.

4. Paper-check refund

Though the majority of the people in America file a tax return with their account details, some prefer getting a check. A direct deposit helps automate the refunds through the system. Whereas the issuance of tax refunds through the checks takes longer as IRS has first to issue checks and then the Postal service has to transfer it to you, which evidently takes more time than direct deposits. The reason for the preference of checks over direct deposits is the chance of transfer to a wrong bank account, as they say, "better safe than sorry!"

5. Tax returns filed by paper

In this era of advancing technology, the majority of the taxpayers prefer to submit their taxes online. Yet, some people have their reservations with the online systems, and they prefer the old-school mail methods to send their documents. You must have noticed that it is convenient for the taxpayer and IRS both to process the documents online. On the app also, you can see that online deposited forms can be tracked for the status of a tax refund within 24 hours. Whereas paper mails can only be checked after 4 weeks of submission as it takes them time to reach the IRS office and start work on it.

6. Tax amendment

Once again, mailing a document can cause a delay in your tax refunds. Accurately called the snail-mail, the mailing system takes you a while for your papers to reach the desired destination. If you are wondering why we are talking about mail and tax amendments together, the fact is that you cannot make any changes to the tax returns through e-filing . That means that you have to send the amendments to the office through the mail, which can cause up to 20 weeks for the document to reach IRS and then get processed .

7. Unpaid debts

Sometimes we try to deceive the government by not paying debts or due taxes, and there are also times when we do not have enough money to pay them. Yet, we must not forget that all these facilities have a cost that needs to be paid to utilize these facilities further. So, if you have not paid your state taxes, student debt, or child support loan, the government might issue you notice and deduct the amount from your tax refund.

IRS allows you to hold a dispute against the debt with the agency receiving the money.

8. Claiming the EIC

The Earned Income Credit known as EIC is a refundable tax privilege to the families of low to moderate earners to benefit them. You can claim the EIC to decrease your tax and receive a higher tax refund. Though, it is good to avail the facility, yet it must be kept in mind that the processing takes longer than usual.

9. Joint tax return

Joint tax return
Joint tax return

Filing for joint tax return can be problematic if your spouse has a withheld loan or tax, as it can delay your tax refunds. Form 8379 can help you get out of the uncanny and uncomfortable situation, but the process can take two months or more .

10. Identity theft

Identity theft is more common than we think as it occurs at many places like online shopping that involves credit card/debit card numbers, and even ATMs. But, are you aware that you can also lose your tax refunds to identity theft? Yes, you can. In 2019, the IRS reported more than 3700 fraud returns being filed that are associated with identity theft. It means that somebody might claim your tax refund even before you, using your Social Security Number to deprive you of the expected money.

You can contact the IRS if you suspect a tax fraud; however, it might take many months for the theft to be identified and rectified.

How to avoid a tax refund delay

If you have found out the reason for your tax refund delay and thinking of ways to avoid delayed tax return in the future, these few tips might help you:

  • Proofread your document at least twice before submitting.
  • Do proper calculations regarding your taxes to avoid chances and overpaying in the first place.
  • E-filing is a convenient and faster option than paper mail.
  • Opt for direct deposit instead of paper checks to speed up the process.

Contact the IRS at 800-829-1954 if you do not get an update about the delay in tax refund within 12 weeks at most.

Sometimes the tax returns can face a delay from the IRS, but we should try to avoid any possible blunder that can add to the days of waiting. Proper documentation and filing can get you your tax returns in time without any hassle.

About Dan Sullivan

Dan Sullivan is a renowned professor and esteemed education writer with a passion for inspiring students and transforming the field of education. With a diverse background in academia and practical teaching experience, he has become a leading figure in educational research and pedagogy.

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