Decode the IRS: 2024 Guide to Tax Transcripts for Refund Status

Refund Payment

One of the most underrated tax documents is your IRS tax transcript. Especially when you are anxiously awaiting the status of your tax refund and the official WMR/IRS2Go refund status tools are not telling you much.

But reading your IRS transcript can be a bit tricky and the details and codes can be hard to follow. So based on a video I posted on this topic and viewer feedback, here is an accompanying written summary, with a couple of examples, to help decipher the key parts on your account transcript.

As you will see some of the information on your transcript is insightful when it comes to your tax refund, while other data points or dates are just informational or irrelevant. The key is to know the difference.

Note: You will need your free IRS transcript and your WMR/IRS2Go (plus see our unofficial IRS refund schedule guideline), to get specific details around your return processing and refund direct deposit or check payment dates.

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Example 1 – So what do all these highlighted transcript items mean?

Below are highlighted parts of a real transcript (condensed for clarity) and explanations of the tax transcript transaction codes (TC) to help you interpret what to look for when it comes to tax return and refund processing.

Understanding Key figures and dates on your IRS transcript

Teal (top item, -$9,109) = This is your estimated or actual NET refund amount for the current tax year. This will be a negative number because from the IRS’ perspective this is what they owe you. A refund in their eyes is a tax over payment. You can see the calculation of this in your individual line items that make up this amount in the detailed section of your transcript (other highlighted colors)

Unless something else comes up you should get paid this amount and see it reflected via Code 846, when your refund is issued.

Red (As of: Dec. 20, 2021) = This is the as of date and means absolutely NOTHING and will change during processing. It is likely a system generated date from one of the many programs and systems that the IRS uses for refund processing and is passed to the IRS master file (which determines your batch cycle)

Yellow CODE 766 (-$3,000): Your refundable credits. These are items like stimulus checks (RRC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC). If these were paid in advance, the advance payments would be noted as offsetting transactions.

Yellow Code 768 (-$4,290): Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) amount you will be getting via refund payment. The ACTC and EITC are subject PATH HOLD, even if processed, and will be paid from mid to late February.

The good news however, is that many more childless workers and households are eligible for EITC payments over this tax year.

Blue Code 150 ($413): This is the amount of your TAX liability with the IRS based on the return you field. $0 means no liability!

Purple Code 806 (-$2,232) This is all of your Federal pay check withholdings you had. If negative it means you withheld too much in taxes and will get this back via your refund payment (essentially you made a free loan to the IRS)

Add the 3 purple $$$ lines (you might only have 1 2 or all 3 lines) and subtract your tax liability (blue highlight) = YOUR TAX REFUND

Note – as you can see in the image, once you get Code 846, it means your refund has been issued. This will change the status in WMR/IRS2Go to Refund Sent and is the code you want to see.

Hope the above explanation helps you. You can see other potential Tax processing codes that could help you determine what is happening with your tax filing and refund payment.

Example 2 – What are the Processing Dates on My Transcript?

Could someone explain my transcript to me or what do the processing dates mean, is a common questions I also get.

You can see this below for a transcript submitted by a reader, where they had no idea to interpret their transcript. Also provided on the transcript is a dissection of what it means and how to read the various dates and codes.

Your IRS Transcript Explained - Including Processing Date
Your IRS Transcript Explained – Including Processing Date

I covered many of the items in the earlier example, but the one difference is the processing date. You can see the Feb 13th, 2023 date.

This date basically ties back to your IRS cycle code, and is the estimated date of next IRS processing, which will also result in an another update to your transcript.

However you need to realize that the processing date is not your refund payment date. That will be signified by code 846.

If the IRS completes processing your return by the “processing date” then it may also end up being your refund date (on line 846), but this is not always the case.

What About Codes 570, 898 and 971?

Several readers have asked me about transcript transaction codes around IRS adjustments or offsets that reduced or delayed their refund payments.

These are generally denoted via TC 570 and TC 898 on your IRS account transcript. You can see a detailed article on these here, but suffice to say when you see these codes along with TC 971, it means the IRS has had to do additional processing or reviews of your tax return, which could invariable reduce or delay your refund payment.

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17 thoughts on “Decode the IRS: 2024 Guide to Tax Transcripts for Refund Status”

  1. This must be apart of the agenda, I find it very funny how we the people get punished for paying bills late. But theses big corporations can have all the excuses of why they are late on returning people money. But will take there money from you if you owe them. This corporation and the government know what they doing. Sending money to others countries while you’re people suffering.

    The IRS knows how busy it is around tax time. I wonder what you are really trying to hide. While keeping us upset and destructed bout taxes and wars. I filed Feb 12 and it’s March 19 and nothing change or updated. No notice or explaining anything on there part. It’s as if they received it and put it to side. My taxes has not been touched at all just sitting there chilling. Well I’m facing eviction, water shut, off light due. I should have received my money March 4. No one answer the phone. But y’all have them so call advocate.

    But y’all watching out for fraud and theft. Tell us to contact IRS after 21days. Now I have to find some one outside of the IRS to help me with IRS problem the government can’t get an handle of. Cause they to busy worried about people who don’t stay in the US. For everyone that has been waiting need interest added to there funds. And how are y’all still behind on people taxes from 2019 and 2020. So the rest of year I guess you could not finish the people taxes .Who y’all want to work ,so the government can continue to profit from us working there corporate jobs. Shame on the people that are so called running this US. Very disturbing and disappointed.

    • I filed March and verified on 19th of April no updates on anything I word hard to get slayed by uncle Sam this is out of control.Im currently waiting still to this day now this month almost over I lost my pops last week and losing my moms but she reside in Atlanta I was hoping I had my income taxes so I can go see her and say my good byes I quess hopefully something change by the 1st because that’s my moms bday hopefully lord willing

    • It is not the fault of the IRS itself. They are running as hard as possible, but they’ve had their budget (which means fewer people) consistently. Particularly by republican legislatures. I am not a democrat, so don’t take that wrong. But you are blaming a group of people that don’t deserve it.

    • U aren’t lien it’s 8/30/2023 and I am currently still waiting for my taxes from year 2019. This is fcking ridiculous!! Tax advocate does not even help at all it’s been 3 months since I got one assigned to me and still no refund she said 4-6 weeks. The government is a damn joke! Quick to take but take years and years to pay!!!!
      Can’t tell them NOTHING!! We basically give the government a loan and they pay back after a year or whenever the hell they want too. I’m sooo Fed Upp!

  2. The IRS is just holding my refund? I call the IRS advocate office and told them I filed my taxes 2/4/2022 and don’t have a refund yet. I explained that they waited for the third week to tell me it was a delay and want to know where my refund it. The advocate told me that there were some errors concerning the child tax credit but there is nothing that I need to do on my end. The advocate put me on hold then came back to the phone letting me know that all errors have been fixed since 3/3/2022 today is 3/14/2022 and I still don’t have my refund. It’s sad because you can’t contact the IRS and they do what they feel and move how they want to move and think that they don’t owe you an explanation until they are ready to do so. It’s funny how the IRS can contact us but we are unable to contact the IRS. If my taxes was filed 2/4/2022 and all errors were fixed by the IRS on 3/3/2022 and there is nothing else to be done to my taxes, then where is my refund. That’s one answer the IRS will not give

  3. I f found my taxes January 11th and still have not gotten my refund everybody else they did their taxes after me gotten their refund and I have not got my refund yet what’s going on I don’t want to know where’s my money it’s still saying processing

    • They say 3/1/2022 taxpayer will get their money in their accounts but that has yet to happen. I filed my taxes 2/4/2022 and still no refund. Such a shame

  4. Will the credit balance (teal) zero out once the IRS feels everything is completed? Ive recently amended 2019 and 2020, my 2020 is still showing a large credit amount, Im assuming child tax credit as code 766 reflects on the bottom. I received a refund for the 5k reflected as refund issued, then after a notice issued for 16k saying if not received yet will in 2-3 weeks, 11k is the credit amount showing. I guess I’m just confused as to why they sent part of it? Or if I’m missing something

    • I havent filed 2021 yet because my 2019 messed up my CTC. I had to mail in 2019 due to filing status change. It was such a mess I had to get the help of a 3rd party to fix it. They havent received the amended 2019 yet from what I can tell, but did receive 2020 amendment

  5. wear is my refund at what is going gone with my refund so can yall respond back me let me no what going gone about my refund

  6. So what does it mean if the purple figures still show eith a negative mark after refund has already been issued??


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