Attorney Grant McNuttThe IRS will generally issue most refunds in less than twenty (21) calendar days. However, many different factors can affect the timing of your refund after they receive your return. Even though the IRS issues most refunds in less than twenty (21) days, it is possible your refund may require additional time to process. You also have to remember to take into consideration the time it takes for your financial institution to post the refund to your account if receiving electronically or, if you are receiving via US mail, the travel time through the mail system.

What do you do if it’s been longer than 21 days and you still have not received your refund?

Some tax returns take longer to process than others for many reasons, such as when a return:

  1. Includes errors;
  2. Is incomplete;
  3. Is affected by identity theft or fraud;
  4. Includes a claim filed for an Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or an Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) –

According to the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act, the IRS is required to hold EITC and ACTC refunds until mid-February. The IRS expects the earliest EITC/ACTC related refunds to be available in taxpayer bank accounts or debit cards if you chose direct deposit will approximately February 27, 2018, and that is only if there are no other issues with the tax return.

  1. Includes a “Form 8379, Injured Spouse Allocation”, which could take up to 14 weeks to process; (My Law Partner Nick Gajewski wrote a great blog yesterday regarding this Topic)
  2. They in general need more information from you to process the return and if this is the case they will contact you by mail and let you know specifically what is needed to process your return.

Should You Call the IRS?

I generally say “NO” unless you are trying to increase your blood pressure or you are really bored. In all seriousness, you should only call if it has been:

  1. Twenty (21) days or more since you e-filed your return
  2. Six (6) weeks or more since you mailed your return, or when
  3. Where’s My Refund? tells you to contact the IRS.

Where’s My Refund? is a great research tool and will update you on the status of your refund. To utilize this IRS site, you will need the following:

  1. Social security number or ITIN
  2. Your filing status (Single, Married Filing Jointly, Married Filing Separately, Head of Household or Qualifying Widow
  3. Your exact refund amount (Found at the bottom of page two (2) on your copy of your Return)


If you want to use a mobile device to check your refund status, then use the following link for the IRS2Go app and download it.

Taxes are very complicated, and if you owe tax debt of any kind and are wondering how to deal with it, call one of our Bond & Botes affiliated offices.  We offer free initial consultations so feel free to call one of our conveniently located offices to set up a private consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.  We will analyze your situation and help you make the best decisions possible to help you eliminate your tax debt.

Grant McNutt
Written by Grant McNutt

Grant McNutt is a Managing Attorney at the Bond & Botes Law Offices in Florence and Haleyville, Alabama. He holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Alabama, and a Juris Doctorate from the Birmingham School of Law. He has been practicing Consumer Bankruptcy Law since 1999. Read his full bio here.

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