7 Reasons You Haven’t Received Your Tax Refund Yet

Debbie Dragon

Updated on Tue Oct 28, 2014

If you’re lucky enough to receive a tax refund this year, you’re probably eager to receive it. The IRS says it should take under 21 days to issue a refund once it has been processed. If it has been longer than this, several factors may be holding it up. Before you start to panic, take into consideration the process and what is going on with your paperwork.

tax refund late image

1. Filing method

The method in which you file your taxes, whether you filed by mail or electronically will make a difference in how long it takes for your refund to reach you. First, there is a 2-day average that it takes by mail, as opposed to doing it online.

2. Error reviews

Doing it the old-fashioned way leads to the possibility that their scanner has trouble deciphering your writing. If this is the case, your taxes must be reviewed by an actual person, and this can take up to several days. Tax information is then entered into a computer and put into a raw data file.  An editing program checks it for mistakes, like extra zeros on income or a wrong social security number.

3. Fraud activity

Aside from errors or being partially complete, the return may unfortunately be affected by fraud or identity theft. This is another process to be dealt with that can hold up getting your refund.

4. Incorrect info

If your employer wrote down different information than what you recorded, it may be another source of holdup.

5. Form 8379

If you filled out form 8379, Injured Spouse Allocation, that can take two and a half months to process.

6. Software glitches

Taxes filed in 2013 experienced a number of computer glitches. A  March 2013 Forbes report explained a software error that affected a certain number of tax filing software products.

The software for 8863 forms was affected — it deals with education and is critical for FAFSA submissions. This technical problem affected thousands of taxpayers who used H&R Block, and were forced to wait several weeks because the forms required additional review.

7. Tax refund method

If your check is mailed to you, that can take up to another 5 – 6 days. Provided that there are no other software errors, and your forms have made it to the database, it shouldn’t take much longer at that point. Your refund will be issued and put into your direct deposit and that takes about a day.

The IRS asks that you do not contact them in an effort to get your refund faster. They recommend you use their “Where’s My Refund?” tool to track it yourself. Every 24 hours, the site is updated, usually in the evening. You can start checking it 24 hours after e-filing or 4 weeks after it is mailed in. Putting in some personal information will let you know if it’s been approved, and when it’s been sent.

The IRS may need some additional information at times. If they do, they will get in touch with you, usually by mail.


Post a Comment

  • http://www.facebook.com/ray.lebowski Ray Lebowski

    You forgot one. As a tax preparer, every year I hear from clients asking where their refund is, many of whom are forgetting a simple fact–they haven’t filed yet.

  • marie

    its been over a month since I filed my taxes why have I not received them??

    • Ashley

      I did my taxes in 2/24/14 and have not gotten anything why?

      • destinymbt

        Since refunds can be delayed for a number of reasons, the best way to check the status of your refund is by using the “Where’s My Refund” tool : http://www.irs.gov/Refunds

        Statuses are updated every 24 hours. Once you have checked Where’s my Refund (and since it has been over 21 days since you filed), you will be given instruction on how to contact the IRS. http://www.irs.gov/uac/How-to-Contact-the-IRS-1

        • Ashley

          I have the app on my phone and it keeps saying still processing. I have tried every number but only a computer talks to me. I revised my state on the 26 of April so i don’t understand why it might be taking this long

  • core

    I filed in January and still haven’t got it. I got ahold of the irs two weeks ago finally and they said it’s because I needed to verify my identity, so I did and I keep checking and it still says processing.

  • LBrannan7

    I filed at the end of January 2014 and claimed by niece and nephews. Received a letter in the middle of February asking me to verify that they are who I say they are, and I can claim them, which I sent everything in they asked for. Received another letter in March saying that I should receive the money around the middle of May if approved. The middle of May came and nothing. Finally got a hold of someone at the IRS they told me that they will make there decision by the end of June and I should be receiving a letter in the mail within a week informing me of this. I don’t understand I have been claiming my niece and nephews for 3 years. I support these children nobody else. I have never had this problem before, Why can’t they just look at 2010, 2011 and 2012 tax return and they can see for themselves, they I have been claiming them.

    • Miguel

      What number did you call to speak with a live person. I filled my taxes on February and still get the same message. It has been received and is still being processed.

      • claudy

        im glad im not the only one, i filed in feb also and still haven’t heard anything from the irs.

        • Elvin

          I am having the same issue too, I filed in March, and still have not received it yet. Funny thing is I filed my refund on the same day with my brother and he received it after 3 weeks, and I still have not receive mine. :(

          • Fulana

            Glad I am not the only either… I filed in March, forgot to sign and then I got the papers back, signed them and sent them back right away. It has been now 4 months and nothing. When I check on the website it says it is still being processed.

          • Frank

            Same here this is ridiculous but they can take our money right away you know what irs stand for I rather steal yea steal hard workers money like us bastards

  • Elvin

    I filed my tax on march 2014 and have not receive my refund up until today July 29, what should I do. I tried calling IRS but to no avail in reaching out to a representative. Can anyone help me please? Much Thanks!!

    • Elvin

      Also I have checked on the web page http://www.irs.gov/Refunds, It still states “Your tax refund is still being processed, a refund date will be provided when available.”

  • Frank

    No this is not fair at all with the IRS does but they are quick too take our money

  • Rose

    Filed March 7 still nothing! no letter from them saying I made a mistake..called them they said it is still processing.

    • Chris Gilliam

      I filed March 6, still nothing. Time to file this years! Geez!

    • George

      Im going through the same thing. Filed in jan. 2015 for the year 2014. And still saying being processed. I look on here n see some haven’t got back for 4 months. Or not at all.

  • shannon

    I still have yet to receive my 2013 tax refund why is this

    • http://www.mybanktracker.com Simon Zhen

      You can go to the IRS website to track the status of your refund. Have you also tried checking with your accountant (if you used one)?

  • stillwaiting

    I filed my taxes 09/23/14 for tax year 2013. It is now 02/03/15. I still have yet to receive my taxes. What would be the cause of that???

  • Pissedoffbeyondbelief

    I’m having the same exact problem and filed the same month of 2014. This is beyond ridiculous and in order To get a human to talk to you have to crack of code it’s insane. I get no answers or reason why from anyone and I’m so pissed and lost of what to do. I just filed for this 14 and wonder if I’ll ever get that as well.