Where’s my tax refund?

April 24, 2014 by Karen Reed, EA
Clock pointing the time hands towards the word TAX

You got your return filed right on time (whew!) and you’ve got a nice big refund coming. You’re making plans to use your refund money for a summer vacation (or a new car purchase), but the funds don’t show up in your bank account when you expected them to. Now what?

The IRS typically issues your refund within twenty one days from the date it receives your tax return if you filed electronically or six weeks if you paper filed. If you don’t receive your refund within that timeframe, your best bet is to use the Where’s My Refund? link. The IRS suggests waiting twenty-four hours to check on status for efiled returns and four weeks for mailed returns. To access the information about your account you will need to enter your social security number, filing status and the exact amount of your refund.

There are numerous reasons why your refund might be delayed. With tax identity theft on the rise the IRS is verifying the names and addresses of some taxpayers, which results in refund delays of several additional weeks. In other situations refunds are delayed while the IRS conducts a review which may or may not turn into a tax audit.

Error Code 1121

You may receive Error Code 1121 after entering your information on the IRS website. With that code the IRS is basically saying you need to wait while they process your refund. It may or may not mean that they will be contacting you for more information.

In the Process of Review

If you receive a message that says your return is “in the process of a review,” it could be an audit. Although it may be nerve-wracking, there is nothing to do at this point but wait until you receive a notice or examination letter that specifically asks for information or documentation from you.

Hold off on buying those airline tickets (or the new car) until the funds are actually in your bank account. And if you do receive an audit or notice letter, be sure to report it to us right away!



Karen Reed, EA


During her years as an audit representative for TaxAudit, Karen successfully defended the company’s members throughout the entire federal and state audit processes, handled cases assigned to US Tax Court, and developed procedures to make the audit process easier for taxpayers. Karen attributes a great deal of her tax acumen to the six tax seasons she spent as a return reviewer, analyzing thousands of returns. Responding in writing to questions from taxpayers, she became familiar with the common mistakes self-preparers make. Karen was previously the manager of the Tax Education and Research Department and the Director of Communications at TaxAudit. Her tax advice has been featured in U.S. News and World Report, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, and other publications.


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