What is the difference between tax return ‘accepted’ and ‘approved’?
If the IRS has informed you that your tax return has been accepted after you submitted early, it does not necessarily mean your tax refund is on its way.
You submitted your federal tax return early, and received a message from the IRS congratulating you, saying your return had been accepted. You quickly check the IRS site to see if your refund is on its way, only to find out that your tax return had not yet been approved.
What is the difference between ‘accepted’ and ‘approved’ tax returns?
When you file your tax return electronically, the IRS uses an electronic system to process it. The office receives your return, does an initial screening, checks it for errors and makes sure that it meets the requirements for filing. If there are no major issues, the IRS will ‘accept’ your tax return.
“Accepted” simply means that the IRS has received your tax return. This does not necessarily mean that your tax return has been approved, and it does not mean that you will receive a refund. Your return is marked as “accepted” usually within 24-48 hours of submitting it electronically. It will continue with this status until the IRS ‘approves’ it.
“Approved” means that the IRS has finished processing your tax return, and it has determined that everything is in order. Your return has been reviewed, and the IRS has made a determination regarding your tax liability- either you will receive a refund, or you owe additional taxes.
How long do I have to wait until my tax return changes from ‘accepted’ to ‘approved’?
The IRS will change your tax return’s status to “approved” after they confirm that the information you provided is accurate. This typically takes three weeks from the time it is marked as “accepted”. If they find that you are due a refund, go to Check Your Refund to find out exactly when the IRS will issue you the amount.
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