Delays in Federal Refunds

Taxpayers across the nation are experiencing delays in receiving federal refunds. This has been an issue all year and is not expected to get better soon. While in years past refunds were being directly deposited within 10-21 days, 2021 is very different. We are seeing delays of several months in some cases. The IRS also acknowledges these delays on their website:

There are several reasons for the significant delays this year. First, the IRS became backlogged in 2020 with the shutdown of facilities due to Covid and limited, virtual staffing for many months. This resulted in millions of 2019 tax returns being delayed in 2020, with millions still being worked on in early 2021.

Then in early 2021, as tax-filing started, Congress made changes to tax laws that resulted in significant programming changes at the IRS, causing further delays. The IRS delayed the start of tax season by several weeks, and the changes necessitated some manual review of some returns causing delays.

Compounding this was the time and programming spent on sending out stimulus checks.

In this perfect storm of events, we are seeing first-hand the effects, with some clients reporting delays of several months for federal refunds. State refunds seem to be unaffected.

Our only suggestion is to wait. You can check the refund status at the IRS Where’s My Refund page. You are likely to see a message that says “return still being processed”. 

Calling the IRS (if you can get through) is unlikely to help, unfortunately. We know it is frustrating, but waiting seems to be the only option at this point.