How does Refund Taxes work?

After filing your taxes for 2020, you must be consciously waiting for your refund. As a general rule of thumb, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) refunds nine out of ten taxpayers within 21 days if you file electronically and 6 weeks if you file by mail. However, this year you can expect a delay due to the prevailing Covid-19 situation.

Thankfully, if you are curious about your tax return status, you have access to an online IRS tool, where’s My Refund, which will keep you updated of your refund status.

Using this resource, you can keep a check on your tax return status after 24 hours have passed since you submitted your tax return. You can track the status from the day the IRS receives your refund to the day the IRS sent you the refund. 

If you enter the correct information, perhaps you see a status that says your refund is being processed. Even after  21 days elapse, the message may keep on appearing on your screen. 

If you received a similar message and are uninformed of what it means, here is everything that you should know and be doing now:

What Does It Mean?


First of all, there is no need to panic if this message appears on your screen. This status doesn’t mean that you are not getting your refund. Instead, it means that the tax return you filed is still under processing. Sooner or later, this message will be updated. 

In most cases, this message is updated to “Return Accepted or Approved.” The IRS then processes the refunds and usually takes 21 days to send the refunds. Once the refund is issued, the message changes to “Refund Sent.”

Sometimes, you see the message “your refund is being processed” even after 21 days and never receive any other update regarding your refund. Assuming that is the case, you have to contact the IRS to inquire about your refund status and solve any complications.

Why Your Refund Is Being Processed?

There could be many reasons for your refund stuck in the processing. The common reasons are:

  • Your filed tax return has an error
  • You may have filed an incomplete tax return, and necessary forms are missing
  • Your tax return is identified as theft or fraud. If your tax return is already filed on your social security number, your return will be cleared after manually reviewed 
  • If your tax return has a claim for Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC), the processing will take time.
  • Your tax returns have Form 8379 that will be processed within 14 weeks

If your refund is delayed, it is not always for the audit. The IRS will contact you for additional information and proofs to verify your return. 

When to Contact the IRS?

If you haven’t received your refund even after 21 days for electronic return and 6 weeks for mail return, use your “Where’s My Refund” tool to  get your status update. If no updates are available, you can call the IRS for further guidelines. Calling before that period will be useless because IRS representatives can search your status only after the set time has elapsed.

How To Contact IRS Agent For Inquiring Your Refund Status?

    • Call at 1-800-829-1040. The automated machine will ask you to choose the language. Choose your preferred language and listen to instructions
  • Now, select option 2 for the personal income tax
    • Now, press 1 for form, payment, or tax history
    • Now, press 3 for “for all other questions”
    • Now, press 2 for “for all other questions”
    • The automated machine will ask for your information. Do not enter any information. 
    • The system will repeat it twice. After that, the system  will refer you to a new menu
  • Now, press 2 for personal tax questions

Now, press 4 for other inquiries. Your call will be transferred to an IRS agent