Where's my tax audit refund?

January 18, 2022 by Kate Ferreira, CTEC
Tax Refund Ahead Sign

You prep all your paperwork, sit down on a weekend afternoon, and power through the tedious process of preparing your tax return. You hold your breath, hit the e-file button, and receive a message that your return has been submitted. YAY! You are getting a tax refund and are already starting to plan how to spend your windfall. Maybe you’ll buy a boat, maybe take a trip to the Caribbean, or maybe you’ll finally splurge on that riding lawn mower you have had your eye on for a few years. Whatever and however you plan to spend your refund money, you cannot wait to get your hands on it.

Unfortunately, the IRS has other plans in mind – and instead of sending you your tax refund, they send you an audit letter in the mail. This is not what you wanted! Before you begin to panic, you remember that you had purchased audit defense with TaxAudit and reach out to their Customer Service Department to report the notice you received. You are assigned to a tax professional, and one of the first questions you ask them is “Where is my refund?” and “When will I get my money?” While these seem like easy questions, the answer is not always as simple.

Once audited, you might not receive a refund.

There could be for a handful of reasons for this – for instance, if the return you filed was incorrect. Maybe when you entered the federal withholding, you transposed the numbers or added an extra zero by mistake. Once the corrections were made, the refund you initially believed you were getting may be reduced or removed entirely.

Many times, refunds are generated because of credits a taxpayer claimed, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, or deductions claimed, like medical expenses or charitable contributions paid. If the IRS decides that you may not claim a deduction or credit, your refund may be reduced or eliminated entirely. Worse yet, if the change in a deduction or credit was substantial enough, you might actually end up owing the IRS. You can rest assured that your TaxAudit tax professional will work with you and the IRS to make sure that you do not pay any more than what you rightfully owe.

Once the audit is complete and you are due a refund, when can you expect it to arrive?

Now that your audit is complete and it is determined that you are still receiving a refund, you are ready for your money! So where is it? Your tax professional may be able to give you a window of time as to when you should expect to receive your refund. However, processing delays have become the norm, so one of the best ways to check the status of your refund is on the IRS website. On the IRS website, there is a “Where’s My Refund?” tool that allows you to check the status of your refund. Generally, the IRS will post the status of a refund 24 hours after they receive your e-filed return or four weeks after you mail in a paper return. Some returns require special handling which can delay refunds. Examples of returns that require special handling may include returns that claimed the Earned Income Tax Credit or Additional Child Tax Credit – or returns where a taxpayer’s Recovery Rebate Credit needs to be reconciled. Once a return has been audited, it may take the IRS up to 120 days or more to issue the refund.

The “Where’s My Refund” tracker allows you to check on all three stages of refund processing: (1) Return Received, (2) Refund Approved, and (3) Refund Sent. Your refund information will be personalized once it reaches the last step and will provide an actual expected refund date as soon as the return is received, and the refund is processed.

If you have additional questions about the status of your refund, you can check out the IRS’ refund FAQ’s page here.

If you have not yet purchased audit defense and want the peace of mind that comes from having tax professionals on your side during an audit, click here for more information about purchasing a membership through our website!



Kate Ferreira
Communications Associate


Kate Ferreira is a Communications Associate with TaxAudit. A California Tax Education Council (CTEC) registered tax professional, Kate has been with the organization since 2015. Kate enjoys the challenge of writing about complex issues – including taxes. Outside of work she enjoys traveling, listening to vinyl, and going on adventures with her dog, Indiana Bones.


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