No the IRS does not have to send you a letter telling you that they are still working on your tax return. They will send you a letter if they need information that you did not include on your tax return or if there is a problem--like a requirement for you to verify your identity.
And, sorry, but this year waiting since May 17 is not a long wait compared to many people who have been waiting a lot longer. Millions of people are waiting for the severely backlogged IRS to process their tax returns and send their refunds. You are not the only one.
The IRS is backlogged —-they are still trying to process millions of 2019 returns; they received millions of e-filed on the day they opened for 2020 returns, and now they are burdened with sending out another round of stimulus checks. Congress changed the tax laws in the middle of the tax season so millions of returns need to be recalculated; and now on top of all that, they have to gear up to start making monthly child tax credit payments.
Some delays are resulting from incorrect amounts that folks entered for stimulus checks they received. Many people have been confused by the recovery rebate credit and completed it incorrectly. The IRS may delay your refund while they cross-check to see what you received. Some refunds are delayed because of the tax law changes that went into effect recently. If your return has unemployment or the premium tax credit on it, that may be delaying it.
First, check your e-file status to see if your return was accepted:
Once your federal return has been accepted by the IRS, only the IRS has any control. TurboTax does not receive any updates from the IRS. Your ONLY source of information about your refund now is the IRS.
You need your filing status, your Social Security number and the exact amount (line 34of your 2020 Form 1040) of your federal refund to track your Federal refund:
To track your state refund:
If you chose to have your TurboTax fees deducted from your federal refund, that will take some extra time, while the third party bank handles the refund processing.
From this IRS website - https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs-operations-during-covid-19-mission-critical-functions-continue
As of June 23, 2021, we had 17.5 million unprocessed individual returns in the pipeline. Unprocessed returns include tax year 2020 returns such as those requiring correction to the Recovery Rebate Credit amount or validation of 2019 income used to figure the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC). This work does not require us to correspond with taxpayers but does require special handling by an IRS employee so, in these instances, it is taking the IRS more than 21 days to issue any related refund. If, as a result, a correction is made to any RRC, EITC or ACTC claimed on the return, the IRS will send taxpayers an explanation. Taxpayers are encouraged to continue to check Where’s My Refund? for their personalized refund status and can review Tax Season Refund Frequently Asked Questions.
How long you may have to wait: The IRS understands the importance of timely processing of tax returns and refund issuance. We have processed all error free returns received prior to 2021, and continue to work the returns that need to be manually reviewed due to errors. We are rerouting tax returns and taxpayer correspondence from locations that are behind to locations where more staff is available, and we are taking other actions to minimize any delays. Tax returns are opened and processed in the order received. As the return is processed, it may be delayed because it has a mistake including errors concerning the Recovery Rebate Credit, is missing information, or there is suspected identity theft or fraud. If we can fix it without contacting you, we will. If we need more information or need you to verify that it was you who sent the tax return, we will write you a letter. The resolution of these issues depends on how quickly and accurately you respond, and the ability of IRS staff trained and working under social distancing requirements to complete the processing of your return.
What you should do: If you filed electronically and received an acknowledgement, you do not need to take any further action other than promptly responding to any requests for information. If you filed on paper, check Where’s my refund? If it tells you we have received your return or are processing or reviewing it, we are processing your return, but it may be under review. We’re working hard to get through the backlog. Please don’t file a second tax return or contact the IRS about the status of your return.