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Where’s My Refund Tool: Why is my return still processing?

Many Americans have filed their tax returns with the IRS and are now using the Where’s My Refund Tool to track the status of their refund.

tax return forms the IRS uses to send tax refunds people track with the Where's My Refund Tool

Unfortunately, some Americans could see a wait time of up to 4 months.

Other people haven’t even seen their 2020 tax refunds yet.

The IRS reported in Oct. 2021 that 9 million people were still waiting due to backlogs.


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Why does the Where’s My Refund Tool still say ‘processed?’

Many are saying if you see a long delay it’s probably because you reported inaccurate information.

This could be an issue with your stimulus checks if you claimed them, the child tax credit, or earned income tax credit.

The IRS is already facing a large backlog, and this means any returns that get flagged with issues end up in that backlog.


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Between short staffing and the 2020 backlog, getting through it will take months.

Many IRS offices closed and had their staff go remote at the start of the pandemic.

According to Marca, CPA Aradhana Aggarwal stated he saw people wait up to 6 months despite their realistic wait time being 21 days.

The IRS has stated that this year the hope is to have refunds be processed within the usual 21 days, but they added that waiting 4 months isn’t unrealistic.


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Why your refund is in limbo on the Where’s My Refund Tool

Electronic tax returns are filed first because its done in the order received.

If there are mistakes or identity theft is suspected, there will be a delay.

If the errors are fixable without the IRS contacting the taxpayer, they will do it. When they need more information they’ll send a letter.

This could add 90-120 days depending on response time of the taxpayer.

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