Common Tax Questions: Should I Worry if My Tax Refund is Delayed?

tax refund is delayed

When You Should Worry if Your Tax Refund is Delayed

You shouldn’t assume the worst if your tax refund is delayed, there are many reasons besides a tax audit for payment delays. One common reason tax refunds are delayed is bandwidth. If you filed your taxes closer to the deadline, your taxes are being processed along with thousands of others that were turned in at the last minute. It’s common to see delays when you file closer to the deadline.

Another common reason for tax refund delays are errors in your filing. If you put the wrong social security number, misspelled your name or entered the wrong bank account information you’ll need to correct this information before you’ll receive your tax refund.

Check the Status of Your Refund Online

The IRS makes tax refund information available online as soon as 24 hours after an e-filed return is received. If you mailed in your return, your status will be made available within a few weeks. Check the IRS’s Where’s My Refund? tool to check on your return. You can also check your tax return status by using the IRS2Go mobile app available on the App Store, Google Play and Amazon.

According to the IRS, most tax refunds are issued in less than 21 days. While there are many reasons why your tax return is delayed, some are cause for concern. For example, certain returns are flagged, or you could have been impacted by identity theft or fraud.

Errors on Your Tax Return

If there was an error on your tax return, you should see an error code when using the Where’s My Refund? tool. Once the error is fixed you should be able to file your return and receive your refund after processing.

Earned Income Tax Credit

Another reason your tax refund is delayed could be the earned income tax credit or additional child tax credit. The IRS cannot issue those funds before mid-February, so early filers claiming either credit could face delays, according to the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act.


Your tax refund delay could also be a withholding issue. If you owe child support, have federal agency debt, outstanding student loans or back state income tax then your tax refund could be delayed. However, if your tax refund is being withheld for one of those reasons, you’ll be notified.

When to Act

If it’s been over three weeks since you filed your tax return, and you haven’t received your tax refund, it’s time to check with the IRS. If your refund was lost, you can request a replacement check from the IRS if it’s been over 28 days since your original refund was mailed to you.

If you’re having trouble getting the status of your tax refund from the IRS tool or an IRS representative, you could contact the Taxpayer Advocate Service. This independent organization operates within the IRS to represent taxpayers. You can reach them by calling 877.777.4778.


If you spent money prior to receiving your tax refund, and can’t cover the amount you owe, you could take out a personal loan. Once your refund arrives, you should pay back your small loan to avoid paying additional fees or interest.

It’s never wise to start spending your refund before it arrives, because you can’t predict delays. Holdoff on spending your tax refund until you’ve deposited the check into your account.



This post is not intended to be a solicitation for a loan. Pomo One Marketing, Inc. provides these blogs for entertainment and informational purposes only. Remember to consider all your financial options before making any decisions related to credit.


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