While the IRS promises to have regular season tax returns and associated refunds processed within 21 days for the vast majority of filers, it does take quite a bit longer for them to process amended tax returns and associated refund payments.
As discussed below, many tax payers have been waiting months or years to get their amended return processed due to IRS backlogs and capacity constraints.
The IRS has reported they have 1.1 million unprocessed Amended Returns (Forms 1040-X) and are processing these returns in the order received and the current timeframe can be more than 20 weeks.IRS amended returns processing update as of Oct 29, 2022
How Can I Check My Amended Return Status?
It’s important to realize that the standard WMR or IRS2Go refund status checking tools from the IRS do not track amended tax return status’.
You need to instead use IRS tool, “Where’s My Amended Return” instead (WMAR). You can use this tool to check the status of your Amended Federal Tax Return (Form 1040-X), for this year and up to three prior years.
The WMAR tool is updated once a day, usually at night. So checking it multiple times a day won’t help.
You will need to provide your SSN, Date of birth and Zip code to use the tool.
This tool is normally updated weekly, starting 3 weeks after your mailed submission, in line with IRS processing cycles. But can update more or less frequently depending on IRS actions.
Finally, its important to remember that filers can only submit up to three “accepted” Amended Returns. So if you have submitted more than these subsequent filings will get rejected and you won’t see any status for these on WMAR.
Calling the IRS For Amended Return Status
If the amended return/refund status tool does not provide new updates for several weeks you should call the IRS. But official guidance is to only call the IRS to follow up on delayed amended return refund status’ after 12 weeks.
The IRS amended tax return (toll-free) number to call for checking status is 1-866-464-2050. Both the WMAR and IRS number have English and Spanish options.
Just be mindful that getting a live agent can require a few attempts and expect some long waits.
IRS Transcript for Amended Return Status and Refund Payment Date
This can provide useful insight, per the screenshot below, if the above methods are not providing you with updated or detailed enough information
As you can see above, transcript codes 971 and 977 on your tax transcript show that your amended return was received and is being processed by the IRS.
A lot of folks with delayed amended returns will see the 971 and 977 codes for a long time on their transcript. It could several months to move to the next stage, reflected in the next code.
However you will need to wait till you see code 960 (appointed representative) which will be the date an IRS agent was assigned and starts reviewing/processing your amended return, which a lot of times is a highly manual process.
Like transaction codes for regular returns, you may see code 971 if a notice is issued around your return. This could require you at times to provide additional information to the IRS, for which instructions will be provided in the notice/letter.
Once the processing is completed by the IRS, you will see code 846 (refund issued) on your return. Note the date as well, as this will also be correlated to when you get your direct deposit or check. Generally you should receive your refund payment within 2 to 5 days of this date.
If you were due a refund, which was delayed due to IRS processing, you will also see the interest amount credited to your account. This may come as a separate payment to your refund.
Amended Return and Refund Delays Persist in 2022
Many filers are seeing still in process status in the WMAR tool reflecting the ongoing delays in the IRS for processing tax returns, which includes Amended returns from the 2020 and 2021 tax seasons.
The above message basically means the amendment hasn’t been processed by the IRS within the standard timeframe.
It does not necessarily mean there is an issue with your amended return. It’s just that the IRS has not got around to processing (and a lot of times it is a manual activity) your amended return.
If there are errors with your amended return, is incomplete or the IRS needs more verification information, they will send you a notice with additional details. See more IRS FAQs here on amended return processing.
Processing complete, but no refund payment!
Unfortunately even if the WMAR status shows processed like the screenshot below, many taxpayers are reporting ongoing delays with seeing their expected refund payment.
The reason for this is that the completed WMAR status does not necessarily mean a refund is forthcoming. This status just means that processing by the IRS has been complete and the next action could result in additional taxes (or assessments), a request to provide more information or an adjusted refund.
This is why it is important to pay attention to the notes/message below the status bar which provides more insight into next steps and what to expect. You should also check your transcript for more details and call the IRS number listed (if provided).
But you will need to ultimately wait for the IRS to send an official notice to see what actions were taken or are required from you as it relates to your amended return. All this, unfortunately, could mean a longer wait time to see your refund.
How Long Will it Take to Get My Refund Payment?
Based on the latest tax season statistics, it is taking 6+ months in some cases for the IRS to clear backlogs, which includes amended returns or those that require significant validation.
Unfortunately you cannot do much (even calling the IRS or taxpayer advocate service) to expedite this. You’ll just have to be patient and wait for IRS processing to commence.
Once this happens, you can review your free IRS transcript for more details and transaction codes (see above section on how to read this).
See more around amended return processing and refund delays in this video.
IRS Amended Return Processing Schedule
Unlike the regular IRS refund processing schedule where refunds are processed within 3 weeks, you will have to wait up to 20 weeks or more for the IRS to process amended returns since they prioritize regular returns.
This has been exacerbated in recent years due to IRS backlogs and staffing shortages.
Below is a table showing an estimate of when refunds will be processed (standard schedule), assuming it has been accepted by the IRS.
2022-2023 Amended Tax Return and Refund Processing Schedule
|Tax Return Accepted by IRS (Week Ending)||Estimated Refund Payment Date via Direct Deposit (Status = Refund Sent)||Estimated Refund Payment Date via Paper Check|
|February 5, 2022||June 25, 2022||June 30, 2022|
|February 12, 2022||July 2, 2022||July 7, 2022|
|February 19, 2022||July 9, 2022||July 14, 2022|
|February 26, 2022||July 16, 2022||July 21, 2022|
|March 5, 2022||July 23, 2022||July 28, 2022|
|March 12, 2022||July 30, 2022||August 4, 2022|
|March 19, 2022||August 6, 2022||August 11, 2022|
|March 26, 2022||August 13, 2022||August 18, 2022|
|April 2, 2022||August 20, 2022||August 25, 2022|
|April 9, 2022||August 27, 2022||September 1, 2022|
|April 16, 2022||September 3, 2022||September 8, 2022|
|April 23, 2022||September 10, 2022||September 15, 2022|
|April 30, 2022||September 17, 2022||September 22, 2022|
|May 7, 2022||September 24, 2022||September 29, 2022|
|May 14, 2022||October 1, 2022||October 6, 2022|
|May 21, 2022||October 8, 2022||October 13, 2022|
|May 28, 2022||October 15, 2022||October 20, 2022|
|June 4, 2022||October 22, 2022||October 27, 2022|
|June 11, 2022||October 29, 2022||November 3, 2022|
|June 18, 2022||November 5, 2022||November 10, 2022|
|June 25, 2022||November 12, 2022||November 17, 2022|
|July 2, 2022||November 19, 2022||November 24, 2022|
|July 9, 2022||November 26, 2022||December 1, 2022|
|July 16, 2022||December 3, 2022||December 8, 2022|
|July 23, 2022||December 10, 2022||December 15, 2022|
|July 30, 2022||December 17, 2022||December 22, 2022|
|August 6, 2022||December 24, 2022||December 29, 2022|
|August 13, 2022||December 31, 2022||January 5, 2023|
|August 20, 2022||January 7, 2023||January 12, 2023|
|August 27, 2022||January 14, 2023||January 19, 2023|
|September 3, 2022||January 21, 2023||January 26, 2023|
|September 10, 2022||January 28, 2023||February 2, 2023|
|September 17, 2022||February 4, 2023||February 9, 2023|
|September 24, 2022||February 11, 2023||February 16, 2023|
|October 1, 2022||February 18, 2023||February 23, 2023|
|October 8, 2022||February 25, 2023||March 2, 2023|
|October 15, 2022||March 4, 2023||March 9, 2023|
|October 22, 2022||March 11, 2023||March 16, 2023|
|October 29, 2022||March 18, 2023||March 23, 2023|
|November 5, 2022||March 25, 2023||March 30, 2023|
|November 12, 2022||April 1, 2023||April 6, 2023|
|November 19, 2022||April 8, 2023||April 13, 2023|
|November 26, 2022||April 15, 2023||April 20, 2023|
|December 3, 2022||April 22, 2023||April 27, 2023|
|December 10, 2022||April 29, 2023||May 4, 2023|
Note that amended return refund payments will only be done via check as the IRS does not allow direct deposit payments at this time.