Why Is My Refund Still Processing? Latest Updates on IRS Tax Refund Delays

Seeing a lot of comments from filers this year saying that not only have then not gotten their 2021 refund payments in 2022, but are still waiting for their 2020 tax refund for returns filed last year!

Why the Delay in Processing my Prior Year Returns?

The main reason for this is that the IRS has over 8 million 2020-2021 returns under review due to errors or those submitted via paper or as an amended return that need further examination. So if you are still waiting for your prior year’s refund, you are not alone!

Never received 2020 return ..said still being processed … Status never changed on they’re end.i can’t get any info. From irs!! (Tim K)

[IRS] are focusing now on the 2021 returns, and unfortunately, your 2020 return went on ‘the back burner’ until… who knows?? I am still awaiting my 2019 return, same thing happened to me with the bars and status last January. (Crystal)

Same thing with me and it’s impossible to get someone on the phone this is so ridiculous the customer service is horrible when they [IRS] do pick up. I’m just thinking next year is going to be just as bad and I won’t see my 2020 return until 2022 (Pandora)

2020 return and refund delay comments

New tax laws and mandates to pay stimulus checks, exclude unemployment income (in 2020) and child tax credits in advance have also diverted the IRS’ focus and extended processing times.

Even though some of these changes were only temporary, the IRS processes and antiquated systems have been unable to keep up resulting in more manual reviews. This was epically the case for the 2020-2021 tax season.

Because most of these “under review” prior year returns need to be processed manually for further examination, it is taking several weeks for an already short staffed IRS to assign someone to review older returns.

Can I Still File My 2021 Return?

Yes, as discussed in this article, even if you are a tax filer whose 2020 tax return has not yet been processed by the IRS, you can still file a 2021 tax return.

Just remember to enter $0 (zero dollars) for last year’s AGI since the IRS requires you to input your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) from your most recent tax return when you file electronically. You won’t be able to submit your return until this is done.

How Can I Check the Status of my Past Returns or Refund?

The IRS’ WMR or IRS2Go tool only provides the status of your most recently filed tax return within the past two tax years. If you need to go back longer than that or need more detail, then check your IRS tax transcript.

We filed our 2019 by mail and owed money. I sent in some with the return and paid the balance in February 2021. We never received the 2nd stimulus so I took the credit on 2020 return. I also filed the 2020 return by mail. How can I tell if the 2019 has been processed. I haven’t received the $2800 ( married filing jointly less than 150,000) When I look at my account on the IRS website it shows 2018 as the most recent filing. What can I do?

Roberta Levin

How can I get Help for past year returns?

If you have been waiting for over 4 to 6 months on getting an update or a live IRS agent has been unable to help you, then consider contacting the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS).

They are especially helpful for those who cannot afford to see an accountant (or CPA) or facing extreme hardship and need urgent help with issues around their tax return and refund delays

Can I SUE the IRS if still waiting for my return?

Technically yes, but legally you will have little legal recourse as the IRS cannot really be effectively sued for overpayments (i.e. your refund). Further the cost of suing the IRS will likely be far more than your refund is worth.

Note, however that the IRS has to pay you interest if your refund payment was delayed through no fault of your own (i.e. due to their processing issues).

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