There were—and still are—plenty of horror stories to go around in 2022 about delayed tax refunds. As of November 4, 2022, the IRS had still not processed 4.2 million individual returns from 2021.
Fortunately, things will probably go a little more smoothly this coming year. Better funding and fewer disruptions from COVID mean the Service will be better staffed than it has been over the past few years and should be able to process returns more efficiently than in the past few years.
We’re optimistic that the majority of taxpayers will get their refunds quickly in 2023—optimistic enough that we’ve included a chart at the bottom of this post with estimated refund dates based on when you file your return.
That said, there are still a few things you can do to help streamline the process. Read on to find out how you can prevent delays on your return.
Important Tax Filing Dates for 2023
January 24 (estimated): The IRS will begin accepting and processing individual tax returns.
April 18, 2023: Deadline for filing returns or filing for an extension.
Traditionally, Tax Day falls on April 15, but in 2023, April 15 falls on a Saturday, and the following Monday, April 17, is a holiday in two states and Washington D.C.
October 15, 2023: Deadline for those who have filed for an extension
Note that the extension applies only to the paperwork, not to your payment. If you owe money, you need to pay by April 18 or risk being liable for penalties and interest. If you’re unsure how much you owe, you can make an estimated payment. If this is your situation, we suggest working with one of our CPAs to ensure you meet your obligations in a timely manner.
Reasons Your Tax Refund Might Be Delayed
In a best-case scenario, you should be able to expect your refund within 21 days of the IRS accepting your return. While there could be any number of reasons for a delay, the following are some of the most common:
Filing a paper return
E-filers have the big advantage here. It generally takes two to three weeks for e-filers to get their returns, but paper filers won’t usually get theirs for six to eight weeks.
Errors & incomplete forms
Not surprisingly, incomplete forms and mistakes on your return can cause delays. Make sure that all information is correct, that there are no computational errors, and that all parts of the return have been filled out.
Filing later in the tax season
The later in the tax season that you submit your return, the more likely your refund is to be delayed, simply because the IRS is will be dealing with an ever-increasing number of submissions up until the April 18 deadline.
Not using direct deposit
It takes the IRS a week longer to issue paper refund checks than to make direct deposits to your bank account.
Claiming certain credits
By law, the IRS cannot issue refunds for tax returns that claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or Child Tax Credit (CTC) before February 15, 2023, at the earliest. Returns with these claims will generally take a couple of weeks longer than those without.
Including an Injured Spouse Allocation
Form 8379, Injured Spouse Allocation, can take up to 14 weeks to process.
Still Haven’t Seen Your Tax Refund?
If it’s been more than 21 days since you e-filed or more than 6 months since you mailed your paper return, it may be time to contact the IRS. The helpline is 800-829-1040 or you can schedule an appointment at a local IRS office near you.
Is It Time to Start Thinking about Your Tax Returns?
Although there are still several months before tax returns are due, it’s never too early to start thinking about them. You can still take advantage of certain strategies to lower your bill or increase your refund before the end of the year and may be able to make IRA or HSA contributions for 2022 up until April 18 of next year.
At Tonneson + Co, we’re here to help you get all the refund you’re entitled to, and we’ll help you get it quickly by ensuring your return is accurate and complete. Tax season is our busiest time of year, though—and our CPAs get booked up quickly. Call soon to book an appointment.