Refund delayed? Our ability to help may be limited.

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March 25, 2021

TAS’s Ability to Help With Delayed Refunds Is Limited

Help with Delayed Refunds Is Limited

The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) is aware that taxpayers are experiencing more refund delays this year than usual. Typically, the IRS processes electronic returns and pays refunds within 21 days of receipt. However, the high volume of 2020 tax returns being filed daily, backlog of unprocessed 2019 paper tax returns, IRS resource issues, and technology problems are causing delays. This is due, in part, to the IRS’s need to manually verify large numbers of Refund Recovery Credits (RRCs), as well as Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Advance Child Tax Credit (ACTC) 2019 adjusted income lookback claims. Once a return is processed by the IRS and loaded on to the IRS systems, TAS may be able to assist with delayed refunds if you meet our case criteria. Please review our case criteria tool to determine if TAS may be able to assist.

Currently, the vast majority of processing delays result from tax returns not loaded onto the IRS system or in “suspense” status awaiting IRS action. To date, over 6 million electronic returns have been “suspended” due to issues requiring manual processing or return inconsistencies. Until these returns move out of suspense status, neither the IRS nor TAS can access these cases to work them or provide taxpayers with any additional information. TAS cannot accept refund delay cases that are in suspense, including requests for assistance made through the Systemic Advocacy Management System (SAMS). Until the tax return is posted on the IRS system, neither TAS nor the IRS can see or access the return information. And until TAS can see the return on the system, we cannot advocate to resolve any issues. TAS is working with the IRS to identify how taxpayers can use the Where’s My Refund tool to determine their status.

TAS understands the frustrations and hardships caused by these unprecedented circumstances. Please be patient if you learn your refund claim is not yet processed and understand why TAS cannot accept your case at this time. We continue to work with the IRS to identify ways to address this backlog. TAS will continue to update its case acceptance criteria as the situation changes. Meanwhile, you are encouraged to check the IRS.gov page, Where’s My Refund, for the most current information on the processing of your return. The IRS also has information on this issue at IRS.gov/newsroom and IRS.gov/refunds. We will continue to update taxpayers on the delays and any progress we make.