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How long have tax refunds been delayed? Can I claim it?

IRS is still suffering the struggles of COVID-19. Having processed more than 68 million refunds, 29 million Americans still demand their money back.

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How long have tax refunds been delayed? Can I claim it?
Thomas White Reuters

Complaints over tax refunds week delays which have been increasingly gaining prominence on social media shows the IRS is still suffering the consequences of global pandemic. According to the National Taxpayer Advocate, IRS is sill holding 29 million tax returns for manual processing.

In a regular basis, the IRS sends refunds in a maximum of three weeks since taxpayers issued their return. However, COVID-19 is still causing troubles in the American administration not only because most Assistance Centers are closed, waiting for a gradual opening, but because there was a backlog of 2019 paper tax returns that the IRS was unable to process when the pandemic burst back in March 2020, which has caused all of the process to be delayed.

IRS struggling to keep refunds up to date.

IRS officially announced in their website that some Americans might experience delays in their payments, specifying those who were most likely to have a longer wait being those which need a correction because of some changes made by the Recovery Rebate Credit or to verify income for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC), according to the agency.

Nevertheless, IRS has processed more tax returns than not with 68 million refunds done so far from and 91 million filed for the 2020 tax year. Stats still not managing to calm the 29 million of Americans still waiting for their refund.

Despite delays, IRS recommends tax payers to check their refund status in a daily basis through the "Where's My Refund?" tab on its webpage.

Can I claim it?

The "Where's My Refund?" Tool suggested by the agency doesn’t provide exact dates of refund or gives you further information on how to speed up the process. The best advice to cope with the problem is patience as there is really nothing taxpayers can do now to accelerate the process.

Lots of desperate people waiting for refunds try to call the IRS on it’s toll-free lines, which are up to 300 per cent this filling season. This issue, added to the fact that most Taxpayer Assistance Centers haven’t reopened yet causes the agency just to pick up 7% of the calls, with this “fortunate” taxpayers having to wait in between 11 and 18 minutes for the call to go through. Likeliness that someone will answer the phone to give you the information you want is very low. Therefore, IRS call service will not be much help, either.