5 On Your Side

Wondering about your tax refund? 5 On Your Side looks into delays

Posted April 7, 2021 4:13 p.m. EDT
Updated April 7, 2021 5:43 p.m. EDT

— Where’s my tax refund?

It’s a question 5 On Your Side is hearing from viewers who can’t get answers from the IRS.

Some people already received their refund, but many others are still waiting past the typical 21 day timeline.

The IRS has given several possible reasons for the holdup, including:

  • Burdened by all the extra 2020 returns coming in — many requiring manual verification of tax credits — including the stimulus Refund Recovery Credit.
  • A backlog of unprocessed 2019 paper tax returns.
  • Resource and technology challenges.

However, the delay is costing people like Kathy Mountain, a Raleigh resident who says they owe her $3,126.

The IRS accepted her return February 12th.

"We’re both retired and we do a simple form," said Mountain. "We try to do it quickly because there’s some times when people use your social security number, so we always file early."

They expected the refund in early March.

"We still haven’t received it, and there’s no person to look it up and find out why it’s still in process," said Mountain.

A viewer in Garner emailed she’s still waiting on her 2020 and 2019 refunds.

The 2019 return was mailed on time last year.

The IRS’s Where’s My Refund page is no doubt getting a lot of hits from taxpayers wondering about their money.

The agency’s Advocate Program, which normally can assist taxpayers, admits the delays are more than usual.

Mountain said she sympathizes with how complicated tax season must be this year for the IRS, but like many other taxpayers, she just wants information and updates.

She said there's no one available to take questions or help her figure out if she needs to provide any additional information.

People understand delays, but so many need their refund – especially this year.

If you’re facing hardship, you can file with the Advocate Service to try and expedite your return, but you have to meet certain requirements.

Also, be aware the IRS is unable to pull people out of the backlog.

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