Published: | Last Updated: May 17, 2023
I Don’t Have My Refund
If you were expecting a tax refund and it hasn’t arrived, there are many reasons why it could be delayed or it hasn’t been delivered.
If you have a financial hardship and need the refund immediately, see Expediting a Refund for available options.
You may be a victim of Identity Theft — a common scam is for someone else to use your personal information to file a tax return and steal your refund.
The law limits the time IRS can assess, collect, and refund.
First, check your refund status.
It’s helpful to know the official status of your refund. Here’s how to find out:
See Locating a Refund for more details.
Once you know the status of your refund, you can narrow down what might have happened.
It’s possible that it was lost in the mail or stolen. Either way, you’ll need to report the missing refund check and have the IRS start a trace. Learn more about tracing a refund in Lost or Stolen Refunds.
Once the IRS determines the check was lost or stolen, it will let you know how to proceed.
There are a few things that could have happened:
The PATH Act made the following changes, which became effective for the 2017 filing season, to help prevent revenue loss due to identity theft and refund fraud related to fabricated wages and withholdings:
The IRS may be reviewing items on your tax return.
See Held or Stopped Refunds for more information.
You may want to request a transcript of your tax account to see what happened. The IRS may have changed an amount on your tax return during processing, but for some reason you didn’t get a notice, or maybe your tax return wasn’t received by the IRS. A transcript of your account will have information about the receipt and processing of your return
If you’ve contacted the IRS and tried to get your refund, and not having the money is causing you a financial hardship, the Taxpayer Advocate Service may be able to help.
If you still aren’t sure what happened with your refund, contact an IRS representative at IRS Tax Help Line for Individuals – 800-829-1040 (TTY/TDD 800-829-4059).
The IRS can use your refund to pay a tax debt, or other debt such as a student loan or child support — and you haven’t been notified of that action yet.
If you believe you are entitled to all or part of the refund because your spouse is solely responsible for the debt, you may be an Injured Spouse.
The Taxpayer Advocate Service is an independent organization within the IRS that helps taxpayers and protects taxpayers’ rights. We can offer you help if your tax problem is causing a financial difficulty, you’ve tried and been unable to resolve your issue with the IRS, or you believe an IRS system, process, or procedure just isn’t working as it should. If you qualify for our assistance, which is always free, we will do everything possible to help you.
Visit www.taxpayeradvocate.irs.gov or call 1-877-777-4778.
Low Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITCs) are independent from the IRS and TAS. LITCs represent individuals whose income is below a certain level and who need to resolve tax problems with the IRS. LITCs can represent taxpayers in audits, appeals, and tax collection disputes before the IRS and in court. In addition, LITCs can provide information about taxpayer rights and responsibilities in different languages for individuals who speak English as a second language. Services are offered for free or a small fee. For more information or to find an LITC near you, see the LITC page on the TAS website or Publication 4134, Low Income Taxpayer Clinic List.