2021 TAX FILING

What to do if "Your tax return is still being processed" message appears

You filed your tax return for 2020 early and are now waiting for your refund but with the IRS stretched to the limit this year you may need to be patient.

What to do if "Your tax return is still being processed" message appears

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is hard at work processing income tax returns but the covid-19 pandemic has put additional strain on the agency. Depending on how you file your return will affect the amount of time the IRS will need to process your return. In the vast majority of the cases the IRS issues refund in 21 days.

However some people are in a bigger hurry than others to see that refund appear in their bank account. The IRS says that you can check the status of your refund on their Where’s My Refund? online tool within 24 hours after they receive e-file return or 4 weeks after you’ve mailed a paper return. When you check the site you may see a message that reads "Being processed", which means the IRS must first process your return and then approve your refund.

You still haven’t seen your refund after 21 days

Some tax returns take longer to process than others for a number of reasons. This year people will be navigating their 1040 perhaps with conditions dramatically different than in years past which could lead to errors. The IRS will contact you by mail in the event that they need more information from you.

Here is a list of common reasons for delay:

  • Includes errors
  • Is incomplete
  • Is affected by identity theft or fraud
  • Includes a claim filed for an Earned Income Tax Credit or an Additional Child Tax Credit. See Q&A below.
  • Includes a Form 8379, Injured Spouse Allocation PDF, which could take up to 14 weeks to process
  • Needs further review in general

Checking the status of a refund

The IRS advises that if you want to talk to a representative in-person that you will have to wait 21 days after you filed electronically and 6 weeks after you mailed your paper return. You can also check in Where’s My Refund? The agency may have posted a message for you to contact them there.

The handy resource is updated daily, generally during the night. It tracks your refund from the time the IRS receives it to the time they send out your payment and you can access it online with three pieces of information:

  • Your social security number or ITIN
  • Your filing status
  • The exact amount you are owed in the refund

Simply select ‘Check My Refund Status’ on the website and submit your details to get an up-to-date look at the progress of your tax refund. It should be noted that the IRS are predicting longer waits than usual this year. The pandemic has made it particularly difficult to process mailed documents so they warn that it could take more than 21 days.

Checking the status of an amended refund

Everyone makes mistakes and every now and then people need to amend the tax return that they filed. The Where’s My Refund? Tool does not work in this situation. You will need to visit another tool called Where’s My Amended Return? You’ll need to be patient though, as it takes the IRS more time to process these refunds.