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Over 78 Million Refunds Have Been Issued by the IRS – Here’s How to See How Yours Is Doing

Points to remember

  • According to the IRS, nine out of ten refunds arrived within 21 days this tax season.
  • Paper returns and filings with errors, on the other hand, may take longer to process.
  • The “Where’s My Return?” web service can provide you with an update on your refund.

You might get your 2021 refund sooner than you think if you filed a last-minute tax return.

According to the IRS, nine out of ten refunds arrived within 21 days this season. The IRS claimed that as of April 15, it has issued more than 78 million refunds totaling $242 billion, with the average return being $3,103.

According to the IRS, there are various reasons why an e-filed return may be delayed. Missing information, mistakes, or difficulties with identity theft may need a human examination of your filing.

LAST YEAR, the IRS highlighted millions of returns for stimulus payment problems, advising taxpayers to double-check their paperwork.

“Those who got an economic impact payment or an advance child tax credit last year should pay special attention,” IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said. “To avoid delays, people should report the exact amount on their tax return.”

Backlog of paper

In January’s annual report to Congress, National Taxpayer Advocate Erin Collins emphasized the IRS’ paper issues, calling them “the IRS’ Kryptonite” and citing a December backlog of 5 million pieces of taxpayer mail. It’s a problem that hasn’t gone away.

Collins noted at a House subcommittee hearing on April 21 that “paper is at the heart of the agency’s challenges in processing both tax returns and correspondence.”

While error-free electronic files may take 21 days to process, reimbursements for paper returns could take “six months longer,” according to Collins.

The government had received approximately 118 million electronic returns as of April 15, accounting for roughly 96 percent of all filings. This could alter as additional returns arrive before the Oct. 17 extension date.

How to find out if your refund has been processed

The “Where’s My Return?” online tool or the IRS2Go app is the fastest way to get an update on your refund. Return receipt, refund approval, and refund sent are shown on the site and the estimated deposit date.

You can check your electronic filing status 24 hours after it is received by the IRS or four weeks after mailing your paper return. The portal is updated daily, usually overnight.

According to the IRS, part of your refund may have been redirected to past-due federal or state taxes, unemployment arrears, child or spousal support debt, or other national debt.


A lower payment could also indicate a mistake on your return, such as the amounts claimed for the stimulus or child tax credit.

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