When to Expect Tax Refund in 2022 – Processing and Payment Delays Continue

The higher average refund amount in 2022 is driven by those expecting a refund filing as soon as they could. While those who owed taxes or were not expecting a refund will wait right up to the tax deadline this year to file their return and pay any taxes owed.

Below are the latest statistics on tax return filings and refunds, summarized in the table below, which not surprisingly shows that the number of filings and refunds paid are higher than last year – given the expanded refundable tax credits and earned income credit qualification thresholds.

Individual Income Tax Returns:20212022% Change
Total Returns Received66,065,00063,474,000-3.9
Total Returns Processed58,490,00061,962,0005.9
Total Refunds Processing42,513,00045,319,0006.6
Average Refund Amount$2,967$3,35213

You can see more on the 2022 IRS payment schedule chart for estimated dates on when your refund could be paid out.

Unfortunately the ongoing delays in the IRS processing tax return filings has been increasing year over year as discussed in this article.

Many filers are reporting that tax refund payments have been delayed and it has been very hard to get hold of a live IRS agent due to staffing constraints at the IRS. One option to get more details is to check your IRS transcript.

Another interesting data point is that the number of tax returns filed, now includes ones specifically filed to obtain Economic Impact Payments (a.k.a stimulus checks) and Child Tax Credits by those who would not usually file income tax returns.

As a result by the time the tax season is done, I expect the total number of returns filed to be significantly higher than in prior years, largely because of the rush to qualify for all the free government money!

The IRS has also released the main cause of tax filer related errors that can cause returns to be delayed this year. So make sure you avoid these to get your refund payment on time:

Here are other easy ways to avoid common mistakes being seen so far this tax season.

  • Not Filing electronically – Paper returns are the bane of the IRS and they strongly recommend using tax software to help prevent math and basic filing errors
  • Using an incorrect filing status.
  • Not answering the virtual or crypto currency question on form 1040. Check either “Yes” or “No.”
  • Underreporting or not reporting all taxable income which is provided via forms W-2, 1099-MISC or 1099-NEC.
  • Missing unemployment compensation. The 2020 exclusion for unemployment compensation is no longer available. Unemployment compensation received in 2021 is generally taxable, so taxpayers should include it as income on their tax return.
  • Double-check your and dependent key identifying information like name, birth date and Social Security number entries.
  • Incorrect check routing and financial account numbers. This can cause a refund to be delayed or deposited into the wrong account.
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