It’s Tax Day. Here’s when you can expect your refund

It’s here: The due date for most individual tax returns for 2021.

If you’re part of the majority of taxpayers expecting a refund this year, it might take a little longer than usual to hit your bank account.

Typically, taxpayers receiving a refund can expect it within 21 days of filing. But the IRS has been warning for months that the money will take longer to be deposited into many filers’ bank accounts this year due to a combination of coronavirus tax law changes and staffing shortages. In fact, the agency still has a backlog of 2020 returns to process.

That said, not everyone’s check has been delayed. According to the IRS, so far this tax season, nine out of 10 refunds issued have gone out in less than 21 days. As of April 8, more than 70 million refunds have been disbursed, worth over $222 billion and averaging $3,175 each, per the agency. Depending on the complexity of your return, it’s possible you’ll get yours right away.

People with more complicated taxes are more likely to have to wait. In fact, the agency says it is currently taking up to 90 to 120 days to issue refunds for those claiming the Recovery Rebate Credit (a.k.a. the third stimulus check), Earned Income Tax Credit, and Additional Child Tax Credit.

The IRS has also reported that millions of returns have been flagged for errors this year, meaning they will take longer than 21 days for the agency to review.

You’re also more likely to get your refund quicker if you e-file, rather than send in a paper return, and select direct deposit, rather than wait for a paper check. E-filing not only gets your return to the IRS quicker, it can also help limit mistakes so that an agent does not need to manually review your taxes.

Where is your tax refund?

Many taxpayers have tried calling the IRS for information about their refunds, to little avail. Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the agency has been short-staffed and swamped, and it is often difficult to get through to anyone on the phone. Around 11% of callers reached a human IRS customer service representative during the last fiscal year, according to Erin Collins, the national taxpayer advocate. Things haven’t improved much since then, especially at the height of tax season.

Instead, if you’ve filed and are waiting for your refund, you can track its progress via the IRS’s Where’s My Refund tool on its website. You’ll need to input your Social Security Number or ITIN, your filing status, and your exact refund amount to use the tool.

You can also file for a six-month extension if you need more time. Just remember, that’s only a filing extension: If you owe the IRS money, the payment is still technically due April 18, even if you request more time.

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