This is the question many taxpayers have been left asking. According to the most recent report released by the National Taxpayer Advocate, nearly 137 million taxpayers have received their 2020 tax refund, but an additional 35 million refunds are still in process.

What is causing the delay?

The short answer is the pandemic. The pandemic brought with it lengthy shutdowns and restricted work capacities, causing a significant backlog of work. On top of the expected refunds, the IRS also had to issue multiple rounds of stimulus checks, deal with last-minute tax law changes, and plan for and issue the advanced Child Tax Credit payments.

Why did some people receive their refund but not me?

According to the IRS, if your refund includes the Recovery Rebate Credit, Earned Income Tax Credit, or Child Tax Credit, it may require an IRS employee to review it manually, causing a delay. Additionally, if there is missing or incomplete information, this will cause your return to be routed to an IRS employee for review. A refund that has to be checked by hand takes about ten weeks from receipt of the return.

How do I check the status of my refund?

There are several ways that you can check the status of your refund. We would recommend starting with the various online tools. The IRS has set up the Where’s My Refund and Where’s My Amended Refund tools to quickly access the status of your refund. Both of these portals are updated daily by the IRS.

We would not recommend calling the IRS as they have incredibly long wait times, plus the agent will likely only see the same status that you’d be able to find online. However, should an IRS agent be reviewing your refund and need more information, they will contact you via mail with specific instructions.

If it has been over 18 weeks since filing your return and you have not heard anything, the Taxpayer Advocate Service may be a great option. This is an independent organization within the IRS that ensures all taxpayers are treated fairly.

We know that these delayed wait times for your refund are frustrating. The IRS is hopeful that all 2020 refunds will be processed by the end of the summer. Our team is here to help should you have any additional questions.