Millions of tax filers are anxiously waiting for their 2022 tax return to be processed and refund to be paid.
So it can be disappointing and stressful to see the following message when checking in regularly at the IRS Refund Status page and see the message, “Your 2022 tax return has not yet been processed.” Which means your refund is also delayed.
This gets even more disheartening when you are expecting a large refund and you hear or read about many folks online claiming they have already gotten their refund soon after filing.
This article will discuss why this message pops up, what could happen next and options you have. Feel free to leave a comment if you need additional help or to share your story.
I Filed Early So Why Am I Still Seeing This Message?
The IRS can take several days to process your return, which are impacted by backlogs and staffing. So unless its been more than 21 days since you filed and got confirmation from the IRS your return was received, there is not much you can do other than wait.
This message is basically saying the IRS is processing your return via one of their many systems and that until that is done you cannot do anything. This would even apply after 21 days.
If they need more information or ID/return verification checks they will send you a notice/letter for next steps.
The IRS and tax experts have said that there could be dozens of reasons when it comes to delays in processing tax returns that can then affect the timing of your refund. This includes incorrect or missing information, flagged for additional identity verification or needs further (manual) reviews.
Some are in your control before you file your return, but others may be purely do IRS processing delays that you cannot do much about.
In addition to the above message you may also see the “N/A” message for your current year tax transcript.
How long will it take for my return to be processed?
Seeing this message in February and March is pretty common during tax season. As the messaging indicates the IRS refund processing schedule can take up to 21 days for most returns (6 weeks for paper filed returns).
It essentially means that the IRS systems have not loaded your return into the IRS master file for processing, so no tax transcript or Where is My refund updates have been generated for the current tax season filing.
Also note that on the IRS’ Where is My Refund (WMR) tool your status may change or show with no bars when the IRS is reviewing your return. Instead, it code show specific instructions to follow or information on what the IRS is currently doing with your return.
What Options Do I Have?
You can try and call the IRS’ automated refund hotline on 800-829-1954, but it your return is not processed you will get a message indicating as much. Also note you can only check your current year refund status via this method.
If its been more than 21 days or you need help urgently, you can also call the IRS general taxpayer line on 1-800-829-1040, though wait times to speak to a representative may be long.
Calling early or late in the day and on Tuesdays or Thursdays seems to increase the odds of getting through to someone.
Some people may also receive a formal IRS notice requesting specific information, which often contain a number to call that is different to the general one above. Don’t ignore these letters and use the numbers or methods listed on the letter to get your tax return processing moving.
Am I under audit?
If it has been more than 21 business days and you are still seeing messages that your return is still being processed, it is likely that your return has been pulled for some additional checks as the IRS systems could not automatically verify the information you provided.
While this does mean your refund payment will be delayed it does not mean you are necessarily facing an IRS audit.
A lot of times upon further review the IRS will automatically make adjustments – that could lower or increase your refund – from the information they have. A notice will be sent to you with details a process to appeal.
However, you should be prepared to respond to any further IRS inquiries (which will initially be sent via official mail) to ensure your refund is not further delayed.