IRS Identity Review and Validation Options – Phone and Online – to Reduce Refund Payment Delays

This article was last updated on January 23

You filed your return in a timely manner and were waiting for your refund to be sent within the standard timeline that IRS promises. But alas, it has been much longer than that and you are wondering, “Where is my DAMN refund!” In a lot of recent cases, it appears that the IRS is delaying refund processing and payments by several weeks because they are spending a lot more time validating tax payer identities. But a lot of people are wondering how this works and how they can quickly validate their identities with the IRS to get their refunds as soon as possible. Here’s how.

IRS Identity Validation Process

You have a few options to validate your identity, which you should also see on the WMR tool if you are expecting a refund.

  • Letter 5071C is mailed through the USPS to the address provided on the tax return. It asks taxpayers to verify their identities in order for the IRS to complete processing of the returns. The letter will provide two options -idverify.irs.gov site or a toll-free number – to confirm whether or not they filed the return.
  • (Fastest way) Go online and use the IRS Identity Verification Service website – idverify.irs.gov . You should only go to this website after receiving Letter 5071C because it will contain a unique case number to expedite the verification process.
  • Call the IRS. You can call the IRS as well (see numbers at the end of this post) to check if you refund is held up for identity  verification. They will likely direct you to the idverify website or ask you to wait for the 5071C letter

Also beware online scams – The IRS will never request identity verification information via email nor will the IRS call a taxpayer directly prior to sending the 5071C letter. If you get a call from someone who says they are from the IRS, it is likely a scam unless they can provide you with a specific letter 5071C  case number (found in the upper corner of the letter)

Per the IRS you will need the following to validate or confirm your identity. This must match what you provided on your most recent tax return:

  • Name
  • Social Security Number or Individual Tax ID Number (ITIN)
  • Date of Birth
  • Filing Status
  • Mailing Address
  • Third Party Verification Questions such as prior address, W2 information, mortgage information, etc., that only you should know.
  • You must also provide us with a valid email address, which the IRS will confirm and use to notify you if your registration information changes.

Once the identity is verified, the taxpayers can confirm whether or not they filed the return in question. This will resume processing of the tax return and any applicable refunds.

Here is sampling of reader comments who are seeing delays in getting their refunds due to additional identity checks, plus some tips on how to get some insight into where the status of your refund.

  • Real-mom – I filed on 2/1, was accepted in 30 minutes, and still stuck on accepted! Has anyone received their refund WITHOUT their status changing? Still sitting at accepted, which seems to be happening a lot. My question is: has anyone actually RECEIVED their refund without having any movement on WMR?
  • Natalie – H&R Block sent me an email on Feb. 5th stating the IRS accepted my return. However, when I checked the IRS website, it said it was processing. Today it’s the 12th and it’s still on processing status. I don’t understand why it’s taking so long, it’s never taken this long. Anyone else having this issue?
  • So I called the IRS again today, every time I call I get more info. So certain people get selected for manual review, I was one of them. It was processed and on the 27th went into review. They have 45 days to process from that date. But for some reason they don’t need any additional information. Why? If you are reviewing my return then I assume something is wrong, but nothing is wrong? I don’t understand!!!! So mad right now!!
  • Mary – I filled the same day and got accepted the same day!!! Im in the same position as you are!!! I been at the 1 bar for many days! People who filed after me, have already got their refund! Very Frustrating
  • I called the IRS because i did not receive my refund on 2/10/16 and i had to call and verify my identity. After i called and verified my identity the lady said it could be nine weeks before i receive my refund now and it’s direct deposit
  • Alex M – Mine got accepted on 01/22/16 and it has been 20 days. It does not show the bar on where’s my refund nor a date. Just says that it is still being processed and a date will be available soon. I called the IRS and they said that I had to verify my identity and had to call another number and verify some information and was put on hold about 3 times. Then said it had been verified and it would take 9 weeks for me to get my refund. She said it would still be deposited in my bank account at that time. She said it might not take 9 weeks but no less than 2 weeks. I wish I would have known sooner so I could have called and had it sent quicker. She said they pulled random people or it was because they did have to verify your identity
  • Dave – filed on 2/2 and was accepted same day. WMR has not moved past received/processing since then. Im only getting 4k back…Should I be concerned? Ive heard of folks that filed around the same date already getting theirs..I was thinking I would already have at least a DDD.
  • Lauren Ashley – I just called and spoke with someone who gathered my information, put me on hold for 4 minutes and then came back and told me that “it’s just still processing, that’s the only thing I’m seeing” and to call back in 1.5-2 weeks if I don’t see any change in “Where’s My Refund?” I am so annoyed. I filed on January 19th and the status has never changed from “Processing” but my bars randomly disappeared over a week ago. I am so anxious.

Some comments that provides solutions and tips/tricks to try and get more information on your refund

  • Katie – I was finally able to talk to a real person. The number 800-829-0582 ext:652 does work. Takes about 10 minutes to get someone. Looks like I had to verify my identity for no real reason. I was transferred to number 800-830-5084 and was put on hold for 30 minutes. All they did was ask questions from my credit report and 2014/2015 taxes. I was cleared but they said it would take up a “max” of 9 weeks to see my return. I asked how I could check my statues and was told to check WMR but to give it a few days. Has anyone on here already received a refund after having to verify? I’m not in a rush for my money but it sure would be nice.
    • Tax Payer Teed – Happened to me & my ex last year. After they drilled him about old cars & previous addresses he took matters into my own hands. He overnighted a copy of his driver’s licenses, original birth certificate, vehicle registration, insurance cards, payroll stubs, our children’s birth certificates & ss cards along with my info just in case. This happened on a Thursday but to our surprise his refund was in the mail box that following Wednesday. Not a bad turn around considering their time frame. I should have followed his lead but i figured whats the use they said that they have cleared up my identity. Yet my check came 6 weeks later. It may or may not make a difference in your situation but its worth a try.
    • Samuel –  In my case I filed on the 25th and had no progress, so I called yesterday and found out that I did have to verify my identity and would have gone no further until completed. In my case my ID was stolen last year so that might have something to do with it, not sure. I never received any notification that I needed to verify, maybe they don’t send out the letters until the 21 days have passed. I just know from this site and others that many are having to verify and they also did not get any verification. . I just suggest those of you who are waiting for the bar to move from accepted to approved and filed around my time(Jan 25th) to be proactive if you are heeding the refund.
  • Jen – I already got my money.. Thank God!! I filed H&R Block online on 1/30.. Got approved on 2/5.. Money was in my bank on 2/10 at 7am.. WMR never moved from approved either. So just be patient guys, IRS has really changed a lot with processing refunds this year.. Millions of people were pulled for review & identity verification this year which will cause a 4-6 week delay on getting your money.. It sucks but that’s what majority of Americans are experiencing this tax year.. It’s just a looonngg waiting game at this point.. Wish you all the best!! God bless!
  • Judy – For anyone concerned, I am in Philly and I filed with TT on 1/29/16 and was accepted the same day, I finally received a DD of 1/10/16 on 1/10/16…still no refund. I just got off the phone with the IRS to find out if I possibly had to verify my ID, this is what they told me, If your refund was accepted than everything is okay, its just taking longer on account of a delay due to verification, have patience, you will get it. I was also told you can’t go by what TT is saying and unfortunately they are issues with both the WMR tool and their 800 hotline, so you can’t go by that either, sadly its a waiting at this point. I was also told very clearly that if for any reason you are still at received but believe you should have gotten it by now than most likely there is a problem with them being able to identify you due to a breach that took place in early January and your data was compromised, which means you will have to verify your ID for them to release your funds. You can do this by calling 1-800-830-5084. So basically if you have been accepted everything is fine, you just have to wait but if you’re still at received after some time then that means they’re having a problem identifying you and if that’s the case, unfortunately you will have to wait 6-8 weeks for your refund.I know how frustrating this is for all of you, as I am still waiting as well. This is the first time I was able to get some clear info on what is actually happening, while I feel better knowing that mine has been accepted, I feel horrible for all of those still stuck at received on account of what that means. If you have been accepted, you are all good, they’re just asking that we have patience, it will come. But for those of you at received I suggest you call the number above to verify your identity immediately rather than waiting for the IRS to notify you because who knows how long that would take. I hope this helps clear it up for some of you, good luck!
  • saffronsky – HI all, I just got off the phone with a very nice lady at IRS.My status bar has been gone over a week. Filed Jan 31st with TT, accepted Feb 1st. I was very very sweet on the phone and told her it was my birthday (yesterday) and she would make my year if she could help me. She did say that in her system it shows being accepted on Feb 2nd instead of Feb 1st that TT told me. I told a little fib that last night I saw a message to call and that this morning that message was gone so I wanted to call and just check. She asked all the info, names, social, address ect. She put me on hold for about 3 min. Came back and said that my account is credited meaning that it looks like everything has processed and it is just waiting for a DDD. She said there is no offsets or debts that she could see. (which was weird because I am pretty sure my husband owes from last year) I asked if it was possible that I would have my DD tomorrow and she said yes possible but could not confirm. She also said to not go by the status bar going away or being there, it is a computer system and to rest assured my refund has been processed, looks like it has been credited the full amount I had filed and that I should receive refund any day now. I wish I had better news. I have to register my cars by next week and could really use the funds. I hope this helps anyone!
  • Rockermomliz- Just talked to my tax guy, whom we’ve been with for 4 years now. Every year we would get our refund in less than 2 weeks max. It usually would just take 9 days (including weekends). We filed on the 23rd so i was expecting a refund by early Feb. The 3rd being the latest. With all the mishaps and misfortunes that have happened this year, along with ‘budget cuts’ and not having enough ‘man power’, I was told that thankfully, our refund was not affected, by the Identity thefts or getting ‘re synced’/stacked and had to wait until they got back to the pile’..however, even though we were not one that was affected, our wait time is longer and I should most definitely see our refund next week. I’m just glad, because while my case isn’t unique (4 kids, 2 w-2’s) you never know. So those that filed around my time frame, and haven’t seen anything yet, know that you are not alone. Obviously its taking longer than usual, and I am one of those that have a savings of the bare minimum right now, and I can really use it, (8 year old might’ve broke his foot last night) but just TRY to be positive. Reach out to people; call and call until you get answers. I was never one to really rely on WMR as every year it wouldn’t really move much, and we would receive our checks DD and it would not mention that the check was sent, much less approved. It’s your money, and you have a right to demand it back; we all worked for it, and deserve to get it without all this trouble, but as it is with life, nothing comes easy, sad but true. Patience is hard to acquire in dire times but, in the end, I pray that it will all work out for you all. I’ve been looking at this ‘chat’ for about 2 weeks and it helped me out and I thank everyone involved. Helps to know your not alone.

Feel free to leave a comment on your experience or if you have any further questions

130 thoughts on “IRS Identity Review and Validation Options – Phone and Online – to Reduce Refund Payment Delays

  1. I was in Prison for two and a half years, i got home in September 2020. I have not received any stimulus payments, and I’m sure its because i havent filed taxes in three years due to my incarceration. I filed for 2020 for the recovery rebate credit the return was accepted by the irs, expecting to get the much needed help but instead i get a letter telling me to verify my identity… The website wont let me register the phone line is constantly busy and to make it that much better i wont get the latest stimulus check either until i idverify… What can i do?? I cant get thru on the phone, website is not an option says that my info doesn’t match their records! This is insane please help me with an option to get this done i need this money more than you could imagine.. Thank you

    1. I’m having the same EXACT problem. I’ve tried different addresses. I wonder if its because I’m trying to get both my payments now and they don’t like it or WHAT. I cant reach ANYONE via phone. If you figure it out, hit me back. And I’ll do the same.

    2. I filed with Turbo Tax, was notified it was accepted by the IRS the same day. After waiting 3 weeks I get a letter to verify my ID, couldn’t do it on line. When I called I couldn’t get through, they were too busy. I finally got through by calling back to back. After verifying with the IRS I was told it can take 9 weeks to get my refund. Hopefully I get it much faster than that especially since it’s direct deposit. Keep calling and good luck.

  2. My situation is a bit different from the rest of you. I filed my taxes early, we accepted on 2/12/21, and were processed and had the refund in my bank on 3/10, Then on 3/13 I get a 5071C letter saying I had to verify my identity before my return could be processed (???). I tried to call the irs, but they would not take calls concerning 5071C letters even though the letter clearly stated you could call. Had to go to web site, but had no place for questions or input. Anyone else have this happen to them?

  3. So my money is getting delayed because they thought it was identity thief..so I verified my info so they was wrong for assuming but I still have to wait 9 more weeks when I defiled before the actual file date to get my money on time and now I gotta wait 9 weeks of a mistake they made but the get my money from my job before I do…i never had to identify myself when they take my money but when its time for them to pay up its a different story

  4. I had to prove my identity to release my 2017 fed tax refund. I was told I should receive my check in about 10 weeks. That was 1st week of December 2019. By the time my check should have arrived we were in the midst of Covid 19. Still NO refund!!! Ugh!! What do I need a to do to get my darn refund! If I owed them, they would be penalizing me weekly for the delay.

  5. Has anyone else been given a number to fax in all your information instead of the interview? I had an appt for ID verification in person and went to it only to be told they were not in and I should’ve got a call to reschedule (which I didnt). I called the rescheduling number and the lady I spoke with gave me a # to fax and said it would take 16 wks to get it. Well low and behold 12 wks later I get another letter saying I need to verify my ID and of course now I cant get anyone on the phone. I initially filed back in February!I was just wondering if anyone else had actually faxed theirs in and got a refund or some type of good news afterwards.

    1. Same thing here. They gave us the fax number but we were disconnected before they told us what to even send in the fax. Have called several times. We get put on hold and then disconnected. What forms did you have to fax? What did they tell you?

  6. Received the 5071c letter and next thing I did was to verify online. I went through all the information and when the 2 last questions came on after establishing the account I answered yes I filed already this year 2019 and the next question was if I received a refund from 2019 which I saí no. Next thing I know it prompt me to a fraud screen with little to none information just labeling my tax return as fraudulent? Omg! Now what? Do I call the number in the letter since I already tried online but it didn’t go the way expected???? Anyone with this experience? I am not getting a refund and should I even bother? I mean what do I do now?

    1. I ran into the same problem. I didn’t get nor expected a refund for the 2019 tax year so when I got to the last question, I selected the option that closely represented that I did not expect a refund for 2019. The results screen made the wording sound like the system labeled my return as fraudulent.

      I’m really worried I made a mistake and I have little experience with this because it’s my second year filing a return. I’m hoping someone can point us in the right direction.

      1. I do believe I did the same thing. It had me worried too but it worked out. I even tried going back and was able to log right back in and it kept freezing up at the end. I filled everything out and was pushing finish and it just sat there processing. Like 30 min. Then if get sick of waiting and redo it again. Lol. I had 2 different complications on mine and it still worked out do you should be good

  7. Exact same thing happened to me . 2018 came in the mail when I had confirmed it would be direct deposit so whats going on there. Then they said I had to verify my 2019 , this after submitting my 2019 back in May . Now I have to wait 9 weeks for my refund, my money , which would end up coming 7 months after I filed. I’m hoping it will come sooner than the 9 weeks.

    1. Once that happened I got mine in 5 weeks. Sucks but just got it a couple weeks ago. Better than 9

  8. I would like to know WHY there appear to be so many more “verify your identity” requirements coming from the IRS these days. How about if they concentrate on making the tax code more equitable (i.e., tax the rich and corporations at a fair rate) instead of withholding money from working and middle class families desperately waiting for their tax refunds to pay their bills, making them wait on hold for an hour or more, and then making them jump through hoops in order to prove they are who they say they are, and who they have been for the past several decades, before sending them money owed to them by the government? Gee, it’s as if the administration doesn’t really give a damn about anyone but the rich.

  9. I filed on March 15th. I went 4 1/2 months. They didn’t even acknowledge that they had received my return. Got a letter saying I needed to confirm my identity. I did this online. Now I’m gonna wait up to 9 more weeks they say to get a direct deposit I already had set up. Crazy paper is I filed 2018 and 2019 taxes this year at same time. Within 2 weeks I got a check in the mail for 2018. Not a direct deposit. But not even a word about 2019 until today. Why did I get 2018 fine but my identity needed verified on my 2019. Same damn status. Same kids. Same job. Same wife. Same adress. Wish they’d get their shit together

    1. I filed 2019 through h and r block amd was accepted by irs on 2/15/2020 in august after no refund and not understanding what was going on i got a 5017c letter to verify my identy of course i waited tried online , that did not work kicked me out i called jan 11th 2021 verfied over the phone she said she released my return and itll take 9 weeks , its no april 4th still no 2019 refund and now i camt efile my 2020 because irs stating my agi doesnt match records i haven’t recieved my 2nd or 3rd stimulus because of this , its been well past 9 weeks since i verified my 2019 tax year identity and i cant e file my 2020 what the HELL do i do ?????

  10. I am unable to speak with a live person from the IRS due to the Coronavirus epidemic. I filed my taxes with TurboTax on Jan. 23rd, 2020. I waited and was unable to see my refund status. I eventually received a letter in the mail from the IRS to confirm my identity on March 5th, 2020. I confirmed my identity on March 9th, 2020 and was told it would take an additional 9 weeks to process my tax return. My refund status changed to, “We have received your tax return and it is being processed.” It is now May 1st, 2020 with no update on my refund status. I have been researching online for information on what to do if it has been more than 9 weeks after proving your identity. I am unsure what to do at this point since you can not speak to a live person at the IRS. I am continuously waiting and hoping to receive a refund status change. I am a single parent of 3 children under the age of 8 years old during the Coronavirus epidemic. Any suggestions?

  11. the phone website would not verify my identity using my mobile phone number i have been going through this for 2 weeks now what am i to do no stimulus check no tax refund. please help me figure it out at this point I cant contact anyone

    1. I’m going through the exact same thing . Single mother with a 12-year-old daughter I filed 2019 then got my letter to verify my identity so I make an appointment get to the IRS building and that’s when the pandemic first started and they gave me a number to call and they couldn’t verify my identity over the phone then I filed for 2020 And I have no idea what’s going to happen I didn’t get my first or second stimulus check either

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