7 Reasons You Haven’t Received Your Tax Refund Yet

Debbie Dragon

Updated on Sat Mar 21, 2015

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 two-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 the IRS 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.

Related: 5 More Reasons Why You’re Still Waiting for Your Tax 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

It’s no secret that the IRS isn’t perfect. Taxes filed in 2013 experienced a number of computer glitches. It was reported that software errors affected a certain number of tax filing software products.

The software for Form 8863 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 five to six 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.

Related: What Happens to Your Tax Refund If Your Direct Deposit Information Is Wrong?

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. Remember, the IRS never sends emails, nor will they ever reach you by phone. There are a number of tax scams that will target unsuspecting people this way.


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.

    • Howard Sands

      Can you please tell me how you reached them? All I got is the automated number which tells me the same thing as the website.

  • 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

      • robin

        me too

  • 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.

    • Babe

      8008290582 ext 652

  • jess

    I filed January 26th, 2015 and I still have not received my refund. Every time I look at the IRS website to try to fin my refund, the website tells me that it is being processed. What could be going on to prolong my refund?

    • SDgirl75

      I filed 1/28/15 and having the same issue. I had alimony, child support, a education credit, child credit and some other misc write offs. I was wondering if maybe all that needed to be verified and that’s why it was taking so long.

      • Marquis

        I E-filed my return since February 4th and the only update that i am getting is that, it is being processed. I tried calling the IRS at numerous numbers, and the only automated response that i am getting is that, it is being processed. I wish that they will either answer the phone or if something is delaying the refund, then atleast call you or send a letter notifying you of the situation. The irs charge you interest whenever you owe them money and pay them late. I really think that their should be a law that requires them to pay you interest on your money whenever that they pay you late….That’s would be a great way to keep checks and balances within the government.

        • SDgirl75

          I thought the exact same thing! They really have us by the cajones! I found a phone number a few weeks ago but it said not to call unless it’s been 12 weeks. :/ I have the app and check so often that it forbade me from using it! Still being processed…

        • Babe

          8008290582 ext 652

          • SDgirl75

            I thought we weren’t supposed to call until after 12 weeks after filing.

      • SDgirl75

        It turns out someone fraudulently added me on their taxes for 2013 and in an effort to protect my taxes this year they held on to them. That part was released on the 23rd of this month (3 days shy of 8 weeks after filing). Now I have to wait 6-9 MORE weeks. The person I spoke to wouldn’t tell me who put me on their taxes because of privacy rights. WTH? I wasn’t even made aware that someone tried to add me on their taxes. Is there a law against this? I want to know who tried to claim me.
        Now my IRS app is saying “We have received your tax return and it is being processed”

      • Erin

        I e-filed mine the same day. When I check status it says we cannot provide you with information about your refund. When I try to call they say they can’t accept my call to try back later or the next business. This is so ridiculous.

        • SDgirl75

          Did you call that same number that “Babe” wrote?

    • Babe

      Call 8008290582 ext 652 to get rep

      • SDgirl75

        Nice! I’ll call today! It’s been 9 weeks!

  • Kesha Chilcote

    I filed april 31st and haven’t received any thing and I’m supposed to be getting a check in the mail

  • sarah

    yeah I did mine on 2/4 and haven’t received mine either.. other ppl that did their 2 weeks ago have already gotten theirs back

  • sarah

    and I cant get in touch with anyone to find out what the delay is, its frustrating

  • Howard Sands

    I filed my taxes immediately upon receiving my w4, in late January. Its now almost two month later. not only have I not received my refund, which I really need, I’m getting nothing but a message saying its still processing. I wouldn’t be too concerned if they didn’t say I would get in within three weeks.Also, none of the reasons for a delay apply to me. Two years ago, they gave my refund to someone else, so I was a victim of ID Theft. As a result, I need to enter a pin. Its still held up for some reason.

  • mommy of three

    Hi I have filed my taxes on feb14 2015 and it is now March 18 2015 I still haven’t got my tax refund in I check the web site and down loaded the app and it says the same thing every day “your tax refund is still being processed and refund date will be Givin when available ” well I have tried calling the number they have givin me only to wait to reach someone after waiting and fighting through the Damon system to get to someone for them to hang up on me when they tell me they are putting me on hold. I filed through hrblock called them they said to call the its it is my money abd I’m entitled to it but he’ll how can I when no one will let me know what’s going on!!! Its crazy they sure like to be on it ads when u owe them and like taking the money just don’t seem to care how ling or what we do to wait for the money it’s vs someone know what I should do Cause I’m lost??

  • Marvis Brown

    I filed my taxes with liberty taxes on 1/14/15 and still to this day I haven;t received my refund. 2 months now and counting.

  • Nancy

    I filed mine on 2-13-15 got my state but haven’t gotten my federal it’s been over a month. Wtfs up

  • P

    Hi all, I did my taxes on 1/9/15 and still have not received anything. Tomorrow will make 2 months with no information based on the letter that was sent to me. I finally got a hold of a representative, and they told me they cannot seek any additional information until it has reached the 60 day mark from what my letter says. I think that’s ridiculous!!!! Now I am gonna have to call again on Monday to let them know that it has finally reached the 60 day mark, now what ?

    • Erin

      I filled 2 months ago as well… What letter are you talking about? Everytime I try to call them it says they can’t take my call to try again later or on the next business day. This is so ridiculous.

  • Sherry

    I was a victim of refund fraud in 2013. I have waited and waited on my refund check. I have recieved my refund for 2014 but nothing for the year of 2013. With it being that long it now doesn’t show up on the ” Wheres My refund”. You cant get anyone on the phone! Any suggestions although I know Im certainly not the only one?

    • ctak

      Hi Sherry, while it does take a while to get anyone on the phone at the IRS, it IS possible to get through, it will just take a while. Also, I would try sending a letter via snail mail to the IRS with some proof, information, documentation that you were scammed in 2013. Keep a copy for yourself.