As we get into the peak of tax season, many tax payers who filed in the last few weeks are see the following message around their 2023 return not being processed as they check the status of their refund processing.
So what does this mean for tax return processing and possible refund payment? It is even more worrying when these messages are still showing 21 days after filing, which is the maximum standard time the IRS provides for processing normal returns and paying refunds.
What Does The Tax Return Not Processed Message Mean?
It’s natural to feel some concern when you see this message but rest assured, it doesn’t automatically mean an audit or major issue.
Messages like this on the WMR tool basically mean that the IRS cannot provide any further information until they finish processing your tax return.
If it has been less than 21 days since your return was accepted (see how to check below via Form 9325) this message is normal, especially during the peak of tax season when the IRS is processing a lot of returns.
If its been more than 21 days and the message does not change it could be due to other issues with your filing.
But their are some subtle differences in the IRS messages which could give you more insight into whether your return is going via normal processing or is facing a bigger issue.
Tax Return “Still Being Processed” Vs. “Being Processed” vs “Not Processed”
As you can see from some of the screenshots, there is a subtle difference in messaging for refund processing.
One status message starts with the first line, “Your tax return is still being processed…” The other variation is your “We have received your tax return and it is being processed“
The word “still” in your IRS message can have significant implications. If you see still being processed, it likely means your return processed has been delayed beyond the 21 day standard timeline.
If you don’t see the word still and it just has some variation of the message, “Your 2022 Tax Return is Not Processed” or “We have received your tax return and it is being processed,” then this is a good sign and it means your return and refund should be paid within 21 days, unless other issues are found during processing.
Your Return Processing Has Been Delayed Beyond The Normal Timeframe
You will also likely see the following message if delays extend beyond 60 days. Most times the extended delays are due to math errors (mainly for paper returns), return reconciliation errors, additional security/identity verification, issues with credits being claimed or injured spouse claims for dependents you may be claiming.
Check Form 9325 To Ensure Your Return Was Received by the IRS
If you or your preparer filed electronically, you can request a Form 9325 from the IRS. This form is basically a confirmation form the IRS that your tax return (or extension if applicable) has been received and accepted by the IRS.
If you filed via a tax prepare you can ask them to request Form 9325 to confirm the IRS got you tax return. The form is normally available within 48 hours of filing.
If your return was rejected and you e-filed, the IRS will notify you or your preparer that the return was not accepted and the reasons for rejection.
Code 846 On My Tax Transcript – Refund Processing Complete
Once processing is complete, and all required verifications (if needed) have been done, you will get an updated message on WMR/IRS2Go and on your transcript.
This shows up as Code 846 (Refund Issued) on your transcript with your estimated Direct Deposit date. This should be aligned with the payment date on the IRS refund tracker tool and you will see your final refund in your account shortly around this date.
If it has been less than 21 days, you will need to wait for the IRS to finish processing as calling them will provided limited help.