The IRS has released its customer service challenges stating paper is it’s kryptonite and they are still buried in paper which will continue throughout 2022. Taxpayers are experiencing significant delays in receiving their tax refunds due to the backlogs in processing original and amended tax returns. As of late December 2021, the IRS still had 6 million unprocessed original individual returns and 2.3 million unprocessed amended individual returns.

The agency’s problems are rippling across the country, as angry taxpayers experience long delays getting refunds and calls to the IRS go unanswered. According to the taxpayer advocate, just 11 percent of the 282 million calls to the RIS reached a customer service agent last year.

Refund Timing

The IRS tool “Where’s My Refund?” provides a personalized date after the return is processed and a refund is approved. While most tax refunds are issued within 21 days, some may take longer if the return requires additional review.

Here are a few reasons a tax refund may take longer:

  • The return may include errors or be incomplete.
  • The return could be affected by identity theft or fraud.
  • Many banks do not process payments on weekends or holidays.

The IRS will contact taxpayers by mail if more information is needed to process their tax return.

Fast and Easy Refund Updates Best Practice

Taxpayers can start checking on the status of their return within 24 hours after the IRS acknowledges receipt of an electronically filed return or four weeks after the taxpayer mails a paper return. The tool’s tracker displays in three phases:

  1. Return Received
  2. Refund Approved
  3. Refund Sent

To use Where’s My Refund?, taxpayers must enter their Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, their filing status and the exact whole dollar amount of their refund. The IRS updates the tool once a day, usually overnight, so there’s no need to check more often.

Calling the IRS won’t speed up a tax refund. The information available on Where’s My Refund? is the same information available to IRS phone assistors.

Best Practices for a Smooth Filing

  • Be as accurate as possible, especially regarding items that are reported to the IRS like W-2’s, 1099’s, Government Payments, etc. This will speed up the process.
  • File electronically by using IRS authorized software or a professional who has access to software and systems to ensure your return is filed properly with the IRS so that no human has to process it.
  • Ask for all overpayments to be either applied to the following year taxes or directly deposited into your bank account so that the IRS doesn’t have to send you a physical check.


    theKFORDgroup tax team holds extensive knowledge and experience in all areas of tax and are here to help answer any questions. For more information, please call us at 210-340-8351. 

    Additional information included in this report was provided by the Internal Revenue Service  © 2021

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