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Have I lost my IRS tax refund if it takes more than 21 days to arrive?

The 2023 tax season continues and thousands of taxpayers have started to receive their refund. Does it get lost if it takes more than 21 days to arrive?

Being late with your taxes will cost you

The 2023 tax season continues. On January 23, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) began receiving and processing tax returns for the 2022 fiscal year.

For this tax season, the deadline to file a tax return is April 18. However, those who request an extension can file until October 16. On the other hand, those taxpayers who are in a disaster area also have more time to file. As the IRS processes tax returns, it begins to send out refunds.

Once a tax return is filed and approved, the IRS sets a maximum of 21 days to deliver the refund via direct deposit to those who filed electronically. Does it get lost if it takes longer to arrive?

Have I lost my IRS tax refund if it takes more than 21 days to arrive?

If you filed your tax return electronically, more than 21 days have passed, and you have not received your refund in your bank account, it does not mean that it has been lost. If you filed and chose to receive your refund by mail, it may take between 6 and 12 weeks to arrive.

On the other hand, some refunds may take longer to arrive. This usually happens if the tax return has errors, is not accurate, or if a tax credit has been claimed, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC). In these cases, tax returns are reviewed more thoroughly.

You may be interested in: Tax Refund 2023: When will I get my tax refund from the IRS?

If you have already filed your tax return and have not received your refund, you should only call the IRS if:

  • More than 21 days have passed since the tax return was filed electronically.
  • More than six weeks have passed since you sent your paper tax return by mail.
  • The “Where’s My Refund?” tool indicates it.
  • The IRS communicates with you by mail to request more information.

For assistance in Spanish, call 800-829-1040.

How to track your IRS tax refund

Once your tax return is filed, you can check the status of your refund with the “Where’s My Refund?” tool, as well as with the IRS2Go app. Both tools will show you the status of your payment through the following messages:

  • Received: The IRS has received your tax return but has not yet processed it.
  • Approved: The IRS has received and processed your tax return. This message will confirm the amount of your refund.
  • Sent: Your refund has been sent and will be deposited into your bank account or sent by printed check via mail.