IRS: Tax refund delay due to limited operations

Millions of Americans still waiting for 2019, 2020 tax refunds

IRS explains delay for federal tax refunds
IRS explains delay for federal tax refunds

Despite the May filing deadline, millions of Americans still have yet to receive their federal tax returns.

The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is asking people to remain patient as the agency works to process all of the tax returns. The process typically takes no longer than 21 days, but IRS officials say things are moving slower than usual amid limited operations.

“Our facilities are not at 100%,” said IRS spokesperson Luis Garcia. “We’re rerouting them to as many different facilities that have that capability, and we understand it’s your money and we want to get it to you, but we’re working with what we have and within the restrictions we have to operate.”

According to Garcia, all of the 2020 tax returns that did not have errors were processed two weeks ago as of Thursday. So if you haven’t received your federal tax refund yet, chances are your filing has an error, or has been marked for fraud.

“If your refund is delayed, we just want you to know that there may be more money coming. Maybe you didn’t claim the recovery rebate credit -- we can correct that, but it has to be done manually,” Garcia said. “Maybe you didn’t properly claim the child tax credit, maybe you didn’t properly claim the earned income tax credit -- that is going to cause some delays. We will fix that for you and make sure you get that additional amount of money, but it’s something that has to be pulled out physically and (looked at) by actual IRS employees and manually put in, so that takes more time.”

Related: How the expanded child tax credit payments work

The backlog at the IRS involves both 2019 and 2020 tax returns. Garcia says that as of two weeks ago, there were just over 16 million filed tax returns that had not yet been processed.

If you haven’t received your federal tax return, you can check on its status using the IRS’ Where’s My Refund tool right here.

More: Millions of taxpayers still waiting for 2019 refunds to arrive, report says

Garcia says that if the IRS has discovered an error or fraud with a filing, they will send a letter to the filer. It is important to remember that the IRS will never call, text or email you about a problem -- they will send a letter in the mail.

If you’re being contacted in a different way, it could be a scam.


Related: Why you don’t want a large tax refund


About the Author:

Hank Winchester is Local 4's Consumer Investigative Reporter and the head of WDIV's "Help Me Hank" Consumer Unit. He works to solve consumer complaints, reveal important recalls and track down thieves who have ripped off metro Detroiters.