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What You Should Do If You Have Not Received Your Refund

What You Should Do If You Have Not Received Your Refund

Tax refunds are issued a few weeks after returns have been filed. But due to Covid-19, it takes much longer than a few weeks now. IRS says tax refunds are issued within 21 days. But if the case is otherwise for you, you might be wondering why. 

Millions of people who do not get their tax refund after 21 days are eager to know where it is. They are often left to wonder, "Where is my tax refund"?”. 

A timely response will hasten the clarification when the IRS reaches out to you via email. There are reasons why your refund may take too much time. If you chose a paper check rather than direct deposit, your check might have been missing in the mail. Your account information might have been incorrectly entered if your refund refuses to show up in your account. 

Another likely cause is when the person you hire to do your taxes redirects funds to an account different from the one you selected. Another possibility is that your refund is being withheld because of EITC or ACTC related claims. 

Other likely causes of tax refund delay:

  • You failed to file electronically

  • Incomplete return

  • You are a victim of fraud

  • Your return has some errors

  • Your return needs more review. 

What You Should Do If You Have Not Received Your Refund

If your tax refund is more than 21 days, take the following steps to track your refund. 

  1. Double-Check Your Refund

If you have not received your refund, the first step to take is to gather your tax files and double-check the numbers. 

If you are awaiting your fund, you will need the same amount to check your status online. 

  1. Review Your Refund Status Online

Click the “Check My Refund Status” on the IRS website to find your status. You can as well use the IRS2Go app to access it. 

Enter your SSN, pick your filing status, and enter your refund amount to review your refund status. 

  1. Reach IRS

The IRS sends letters to mail if there is a problem with your taxes. 

You can call an IRS agent to be sure of the problem. 

  1. Follow up as required.

After reaching the IRS, make sure to keep in touch for further inquiries. Different tax situations vary for each person, but you will need to follow up for clarification. 

How To Check Your Tax Refund Status

The method available for checking your refunds online is the "Where is my refund tool?" on IRS.gov. You can also reach the IRS Tax Help Line at 800-829-1040. If you have an active refund, you may not get additional details. 

Your return status shows “received” when the IRS has your return and is ready to process. It shows “approved” when your refund has been approved. It changes to “sent” when your refund is on the way.


If your tax refund has not been issued after six weeks of mailing your paper return, call the federal agency or go to a local IRS office to lodge complaints. Your refund might be delayed for any of the reasons mentioned above. 

There are hacks you can use to hasten your tax refund process. You can start checking on your tax refund status within 24 hours of sending your e-filed tax. If possible, avoid filling your tax on paper to prevent weeks of wondering, “where is my tax refund?”. Usually, it takes three weeks to process e-files and eight weeks for paper returns. Lastly, request a direct deposit into your account rather than a paper check. 



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