Transaction codes are used on IRS tax transcripts to provide information for individual and business filers into what is currently happening with their tax return processing, reasons for potential delays, when a refund will be paid or why it was lower than expected (offsets).
There are dozens of codes, but Code 846, Refund Issued, is one you will generally WANT to see this on your account tax transcript (under the Explanation of Transactions section) after your return has been through IRS system processing.
Basically it means the IRS is sending you the overpayment of your taxes – i.e. your refund! So getting this code on your transcript is a good sign and confirmation your federal tax refund is approved and getting paid.
But you will likely see several transaction codes prior to the 846 code, and I’ll discuss some of these in this articles to help you better understand how the final refund amount shown on your 846 code is calculated.
Transaction Code (TC) 846 Refund of Overpayment – Refund Issued!
The TC 846 code will appear on your transcript once the IRS has processed your tax return and confirmed you are eligible for a refund payment. You will see this as the REFUND SENT status on the WMR or IRS2Go app.
Note that the amount will be positive for TC 840 when refunds are issued, versus the negative amounts for tax credits codes, (e.g 766) which are payments the IRS owes you. This can be confusing, but just check your net refund on top of your tax transcript or the figure shown in WMR or IRS2Go.
Transcript 898 and 899 Codes – Refund Applied to non IRS Debt
You may see TC 570 (adjustment) or TC 898 (BFS offset/non-IRS debt) and 971 (Notice issued) before or after your 846 code, which reflects additional adjustments the IRS has made before issuing your refund.
For example, the screenshot below shows codes 898 and 899. TC 898 is basically advising you a portion of your refund was applied to non-IRS debt (e.g another state of federal agency). This is followed by TC 899, which is a reversal of this amount and will be paid back to you in your refund.
Code 846 Date – Looking at the correct/current tax year
The 846 code can appear several times on your tax transcripts, reflecting the ongoing issuance of IRS refunds during current and prior tax years. So make sure you look at the date (year in particular) on the 846 line to ensure it lines up with the current tax year.
For example in the screenshot above, you can see a 846 code for 2021 and 2022. This means the refund has been issued for both these years.
If you don’t see if for the current year, it likely means the IRS is still processing your tax return.
Is the Code 846 date my refund direct deposit date?
Generally the 846 date is the when the IRS issues the refund payment or paper check confirmation. It could be 1 to 2 days later that you actually receive the actual payment via direct deposit (WMR status = Refund Sent).
Paper checks can take up to a week longer to be received.
Rejected refund payments (TC 841)
If your banking information is incorrect or your IRS electronic payment is rejected, you will still see code 846 followed by TC 841, which is a reversal of the 846 refund issued code.
A paper check will be mailed to your home address 4 to 6 weeks after the IRS gets notified of the bounced payment. See more about what TC 841 means in this article.
When Will I see a 846 date after filing my tax return?
Generally the IRS says 90% of refunds are processed within 21 days, which is when you should also expect to see code 846 on your transcript.
And possibly longer if it requires special or manual handling by the IRS.
Why is my refund issued amount (TC 846) different to filing amount (TC 150) and what is 4/15 date?
To clear up some confusion about people asking about the 4/15 default date on your tax filing transcript line (TC 150), I have provided the transcript image below.
This shows how your final refund amount, shown against code 846 for the current tax season/year, is calculated based on your original filing (TC 150 line) and withholding (TC 806).
The IRS will determine credits (766 and 768) before providing the net refund amount on line 846. The date on this line (e.g. 02/22/2022) is the actual date the refund was issued by the IRS. The 4/15 dates on other lines are just the system default or IRS processing dates, and do not correlate to when your refund is issued.