What is the Reason for a Delayed IRS Refund?

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Once a taxpayer submits a tax return to the Internal Revenue Service, his return is acknowledged by the IRS and processed. The processed tax return may be accepted or rejected by the IRS. If the return is rejected, corrections must be made before the taxpayer can receive his refund. If the return is accepted, it is assigned a date for refund disbursement. For the most part, an individual can expect to receive his refund, according to the date that is indicated by the IRS. However, various factors that can cause a delayed refund.

Data Errors

Data errors on your tax return can cause a delay in processing your refund. For this reason, it is important to double check your tax return before filing it. The IRS has a checklist that will help you to avoid common errors. A few of the common data errors that would cause a refund delay include entering the wrong Social Security number for the taxpayer or dependents, selecting the wrong filing status, math errors and entering data on the wrong lines.

Filing Method

Tax returns that are filed electronically are received faster than paper returns. A refund from an electronic return is generally received two to three weeks from the date the IRS accepts the return. The issuance of refunds for paper returns can take up to six weeks from the date the IRS accepts the return.

Bank Delay

Some banks place a hold on IRS refunds that are direct deposited. However, many banks will allow the taxpayer to have immediate access to the deposited funds. The best way for the taxpayer to determine whether the delay is caused by the IRS or the bank, is to verify whether the IRS has issued the refund as scheduled. If the IRS issued the refund as scheduled, the problem is with the bank. The bank is holding the taxpayer's refund for a couple of days or the refund was sent to the wrong bank account.

Lost/Stolen Check

If an individual moves to a new address after filing his tax return, he may experience a delay in receiving his refund. For this reason, it is important to ensure the IRS has an accurate mailing address on file. If the mailing address is correct, and the individual still experiences a delay in receiving his refund, the refund check may be lost or stolen. If the taxpayer suspects that his refund check has been lost or stolen, he should contact the IRS at 800-829-1040.

Verify Status

The IRS has a method in place that allows an individual to check on the status of a delayed refund. The status can be checked from the IRS website via the “Where's My Refund” tool. The status can also be checked by calling the IRS refund information hotline at 800-829-1954. By calling the refund information hotline, an individual can obtain detailed information concerning why the refund is delayed.