IRS Refund Process and the 6 Most Common Questions

Getting refunds on your taxes can be exciting but waiting for your refund is a different matter. Whether you are a seasoned attorney with years of experience or you are submitting your taxes for the first time, the IRS refund process can seem slow. So what can you do about it?

Our first piece of advice is to always claim credits and incentives as soon as possible. In most instances, a refundable credit, like ERC, can be claimed in advance, so instead of waiting for a refund, you can simply just reduce what you pay in tax. Also, if you do file for a refund, being first in line can help ensure you get your refund back quickly.

If you are already waiting for a refund though, we’ve got answers to the six most common questions about your IRS refund process that every American taxpayer should know!

1. Track Your IRS refund: How do I check my IRS refund status?

Taxpayers can receive quick answers on tax returns by using the Where’s My Refund? portal on the or the IRS2Go mobile application. Use your SSN/ITPIN, filing status, and refund amount to start tracking 24 hours after e-filing or four weeks after mailing the paper return.

2. Why is my refund still processing?

Sometimes your tax return may take longer than usual due to added scrutiny or additional review.

Some of the reasons why that can happen:

  • Incomplete filing status;
  • Missing details/documents;
  • Lengthier processing time for certain forms.

As of April 2022, 9.6 million unprocessed individual returns are pending with the IRS, of which 2.9 million returns require correction and 6.7 million are paper returns waiting for review.

On top of that, due to the pandemic, the IRS is understaffed and operating with limited manpower, following strict social distancing protocols.

The IRS understands the importance of timely processing tax returns and works round the clock to complete all error-free filings within the stipulated time. Returns that need revisions are being reviewed manually, and the corresponding taxpayers are being contacted for the same at the earliest.

3. IRS Refund Delay: When Can I expect my IRS refund?

Generally, most refunds should be issued within 21 days for taxpayers who file electronically and choose direct deposit. If the tax return is delayed beyond 21 days, you can expect a mail from IRS asking for more details to process the return.

4. Why has my refund been accepted but not approved?

Accepted signifies that the tax return is with the government and has passed the preliminary inspection stage (validation details are error-free, others have not claimed dependents, and more).

They will minimize the refund value to cover the outstanding amount if they find any debts like back taxes and child support. Once they are convinced that you do not have any outstanding debts to be paid, they will approve it and issue a refund.

5. What to do when you do not receive an IRS refund in your account?

Follow the below steps if a refund is still not credited to your account:

  • Double-check your numbers and collect tax forms;
  • Go to the IRS refund status app and click the “Check My Refund Status” link;
  • In case of any issues with your taxes, you may get a letter in the mail; and
  • Try to contact an IRS agent if over 12 weeks have passed to process your refund.

6. How Will I Receive My IRS Refund – Direct Deposit or Paycheck?

If you select the ‘Paycheck’ option, ensure that your name and address are correctly entered, so the check can be mailed to the right place. After the IRS accepts the papers for your tax return, they will mail the allotted check via the U.S. Postal Service.

With ‘Direct Deposit’, all you have to do is provide your bank account and routing number to get the funds into the designated account. The IRS also provides the option to split the refund into up to 3 accounts for direct deposit.


While the answers to the most frequently asked tax questions may help meet your tax obligations this year, you might still have questions as you complete the return filing process or even want to understand any available federal credit to your business. Check out this space or ask us if you have any more questions, and we’ll be sure to answer them as soon as possible.

alliantgroup, a leading tax advisor, has been helping businesses to file and claim returns with minimal challenges. Our team includes ex- IRS commissioners and can help you to submit error-free tax filings with minimal chances of refund delay.

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