If you've filed your state tax return in North Carolina, you may be curious about when you can expect to receive your tax refund. The answer won't be the same for everyone because processing time can change based on when and how you filed. Here's a look at the four stages of return processing for the North Carolina Department of Revenue (NCDOR):
- Return Received
- Processing and Validation
- Refund Approved
- Refund Issued
Read More: State Tax Vs. Federal Tax
Factors Impacting Turnaround Time
The biggest factor in determining how long the turnaround time on your refund will be is the method you used to file this year. When you file state taxes electronically in North Carolina, you can generally expect your anticipated refund to be delivered much sooner than someone who files using a paper return. A person who files electronically can actually receive a refund as soon as a week after filing. While this won't happen in every case, it's fairly common.
By contrast, someone who files a paper return by mail can expect to wait more than two months to receive a refund. The official window for tax returns provided by the NCDOR is six to 12 weeks. Some common causes for delay include the use of incorrect forms, missing signatures, missing ID numbers and incorrect banking information.
If you will be receiving a different amount than you expected due to an adjustment made by the NDCOR, you will receive something called a Notice of Adjustment explaining the changes behind your new refund total.
Read More: What Is State Withholding Tax?
Fastest Way to Get a State Tax Refund in North Carolina
If you're eager to receive your North Carolina tax refund quickly, there is a strategy you can use. First, make the decision to electronically file your taxes to speed up the process. Next, try to file your return as early as possible once you receive all of the necessary tax documents for filing. Many people don't realize that filing closer to the tax deadline on April 15 actually lengthens the turnaround time for tax refunds.
The volume of refunds going out simply increases as Tax Day approaches. As a result, it takes longer for the tax department to process and send returns. Extra time is also added to the process because measures are taken to protect your return by completing screenings for identity theft.
What Happens When a North Carolina Tax Refund Is Delayed?
If it's been a few weeks since you filed your return, you may be wondering why your return appears to be missing. First, this could just be a routine delay that isn't indicative of any issues with your return being lost or mishandled. The NCDOR provides a special portal that allows taxpayers to make inquiries regarding tax return status.
To access your refund status online, you'll need to supply both the Social Security number shown on the return and exact refund total from D-400 Line 34. If you're unable to access the Internet to check the status of your return, you can also call 1-877-252-4052 to complete an inquiry over the phone. Information provided both online and over the phone is updated daily at 6 p.m.
Read More: IRS State Tax Refund Information
- North Carolina Department of Revenue: Where's My Refund?
- North Carolina Department of Revenue: eFile for Individuals
- Internal Revenue Service. "Relief for Taxpayers," Page 3. Accessed Apr. 8, 2020.
- Internal Revenue Service. "Economic Impact Payment Information Center." Accessed Aug. 30, 2020.
- Internal Revenue Service. "Filing Season Statistics for March 2020." Accessed Apr. 8, 2020.
- Internal Revenue Service. "IRS kicks off 2020 tax filing season." Accessed Apr. 8, 2020.
- Intrnal Revenue Service. "Tax Day Now July 15." Accessed Apr. 8, 2020.
- U.S. Congress. "H.R.748 - CARES Act." Accessed Apr. 8, 2020.
- Internal Revenue Service. "Where's My Refund?" Accessed Apr. 8, 2020.
- Internal Revenue Service. "Tax Season Refund Frequently Asked Questions." Accessed March 1, 2020.
- Internal Revenue Service. "1040 and 2019 1040-SR," Pages 14, 60. Accessed March 1, 2020.
- Internal Revenue Service. "Interim Results of the 2019 Filing Season," Page 12. Accessed March 1, 2020.
- Federal Trade Commission. "Filing A Complaint." Accessed Aug. 30, 2020.
- Internal Revenue Service. "Topic No. 308 Amended Returns." Accessed March 1, 2020.
- Bureau of the Fiscal Service. "Tax Refund Offset." Accessed March 1, 2020.
- Taxpayer Advocate Service. "Refund Offsets." Accessed March 1, 2020.
Adam Luehrs is a writer during the day and a voracious reader at night. He focuses mostly on finance writing and has a passion for real estate, credit card deals, and investing.