turbotax icon
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Close icon
Do you have a TurboTax Online account?

We'll help you get started or pick up where you left off.

Why is my refund so late?

I filed in February and the IRS refund tool still says "processing" with no other updates. I filed jointly with my wife and have kids so expect child tax credit. The only thing I got in the mail from IRS was something about the extra child credits starting in July but nothing about my status or regular refund. Why could it be taking so long?

3 Replies

Why is my refund so late?

In normal times, the IRS says that most people will receive a Federal refund within 21 days if they efile and choose direct deposit.  But these are far from normal times.   With the Pandemic, IRS staffing shortages, increased duties of processing stimulus payments, and several late changes in tax laws, the IRS has been inundated for some time.   There have been long delays at the IRS, especially for any returns that were filed by mail or any that needed any manual processing or further investigating.    We can tell you how to check on it.   Since we know nothing about what all you've done or haven't done, let's start at the beginning--a very good place to start.


If you efiled, you should double-check to be sure the Federal and state return (if applicable) were efiled successfully and accepted.
If you used Online TurboTax, you can sign into your Online Account and check the efile status at the Tax Home.

If that showed the Federal return was accepted, you can use the "Where's My Refund" tool at the IRS website below to monitor the status of your Federal refund.  

TIPS when using the IRS WMR tool:

  • Be sure you enter the correct SSN and filing status.
  • Be sure you are using only the Federal refund amount.   Do not include any state refund or any total refund or net refund (Fed and State) that TurboTax may have provided on a screen.  
  • Look at your actual Federal return to get the Federal refund amount, i.e., your Form 1040, Line 35a.
  • If the WMR Tool can't find your info, then you can also try phoning the IRS refund hotline.  I've seen it work for some users when the WMR tool didn't.  800-829-1954


To track a state refund:


If the IRS tool says it is still being processed, here's how to reach the IRS to inquire about the delay, but it may not be easy.  Part of it is luck.    Here is the normal method to reach a live IRS agent when they are operating smoothly,  but things are not so smooth right now as I explained above, so they may be difficult to reach.


IRS:  800-829-1040 (7AM-7 PM local time) Monday-Friday


When calling the IRS do not choose the first choice re: "Refund", or it will send you to an automated phone line.

  • First choose your language.  Then listen to each menu before making the selection.
  • Then press 2 for "personal income tax".
  • Then press 1 for "form, tax history, or payment".  
  • Then press 3 "for all other questions."
  • Then press 2 "for all other questions." 
  • It may then ask for your SSN, but do not enter it.  Just wait.    If it asks for SSN a second time, still do not enter it.
  • Then it will get "tired", and you'll get another menu.  Choose 2 for "personal".
  • Then in the next menu choose 4 for "all other inquiries", and it should transfer you to an agent but expect a long wait.
  • I usually use a speakerphone so I can work on something else while waiting.

Why is my refund so late?

Thanks for the tips. I did e-file using the online software. The IRS tool has said "still processing" with no estimated date for some time. I will try to contact them.

Why is my refund so late?

Since they are only answering 5% of the calls plan for an extended wait ... put it on speaker while on hold so you can keep living a life. 

Use your Intuit Account to sign in to TurboTax.
By selecting Sign in, you agree to our Terms and acknowledge our Privacy Statement.
message box icon

Get more help

Ask questions and learn more about your taxes and finances.

Post your Question
message box icon

Ready to start your taxes?

Hand off your taxes, get expert help, or do it yourself.

See Pricing

Related Content

Manage cookies