How Long Does the IRS Take to Process a Tax Return for Stimulus?

Understanding the IRS Refund Process

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) typically issues more than 9 out of 10 refunds within 21 days of receiving the tax return. However, some returns may require additional review and processing, which can extend the refund timeline.

Factors Affecting Refund Processing Time

Several factors can influence the time it takes the IRS to process a tax return and issue a refund, including:

  • Errors or Incomplete Information: Returns with errors or missing information may require manual review, which can delay processing.
  • Complex Returns: Returns involving complex tax situations, such as self-employment or itemized deductions, may take longer to process.
  • Paper Returns: Paper returns generally take longer to process than electronically filed returns.
  • Backlogs: During peak tax season, the IRS may experience backlogs that can slow down processing times.
  • Additional Verification: The IRS may need to verify certain information on your return, such as your identity or income, which can extend the processing time.

Where’s My Refund Tool

You can track the status of your refund using the IRS’s “Where’s My Refund?” tool. This tool is updated once a day, overnight, and provides personalized information based on the processing of your tax return.

Estimated Refund Timelines

The IRS provides estimated refund timelines based on the filing method:

  • Electronic Filing with Direct Deposit: 24 hours after filing
  • Electronic Filing without Direct Deposit: 3 or 4 days after filing
  • Paper Filing: 4 weeks or more after mailing

Contacting the IRS

If your refund is taking longer than expected, you can contact the IRS by phone or mail. However, it’s important to note that the IRS recommends using the “Where’s My Refund?” tool for the most up-to-date information.

Additional Considerations

  • Direct Deposit: Using direct deposit is the fastest and most secure way to receive your refund.
  • Refund Offset: If you owe any outstanding taxes or debts, the IRS may offset your refund to cover those amounts.
  • Stimulus Payments: Stimulus payments are not considered tax refunds and may have different processing timelines.

The IRS typically processes tax returns and issues refunds within 21 days, but some returns may take longer. Factors such as errors, complex tax situations, and backlogs can affect the processing time. You can track the status of your refund using the “Where’s My Refund?” tool and contact the IRS if your refund is delayed beyond the estimated timeline.

IRS Tax Refund Update – Delays and Smaller Refunds


How long does it take for IRS to approve refund after it is accepted stimulus?

Even though the IRS issues most refunds in less than 21 days, it’s possible your tax return may require additional review that may take longer to process.

How long does it take the IRS to process a refund check?

(updated December 22, 2023) We issue most refunds in less than 21 calendar days. However, if you mailed your return and expect a refund, it could take four weeks or more to process your return.

What day of the week does the IRS approve refunds?

Day of the week for IRS refund deposits The IRS typically processes tax refunds and executes direct deposit transactions within 21 days after accepting your tax return. It’s common for the IRS to issue refunds on business days, from Monday through Friday.

How long does a payment to the IRS take to process?

Check or money order payments may take up to three weeks to appear. Debit/credit card payments will appear 1-2 days after your payment date.

Can I file a tax return if I don’t receive stimulus payments?

The IRS urges people who don’t normally file a tax return and haven’t received any stimulus payments to look into their filing options. The IRS will continue reaching out to non-filers so that as many eligible people as possible receive the stimulus payments they’re entitled to.

How long does it take to get a tax refund?

Four weeks after mailing a paper return. Taxpayers should note that the IRS updates the tool once a day, usually overnight, so there’s no need to check more often. The IRS reminds taxpayers that the fastest way to get a refund is by filing electronically and using direct deposit. Many different factors may affect the timing of refund delivery:

How long does it take to resolve a stimulus check error?

The IRS on February 14 said tax returns with errors involving the third stimulus check, which are missing information or which have suspected fraud or theft could take up to 90 to 120 days to resolve. Some taxpayers may also inadvertently claim the wrong amount on their tax returns this year — and through no fault of their own.

How long does it take for a return to be processed?

We generally process paper returns where a refund is expected before all other returns. Electronically filed original returns are generally processed within 21 days. We’re currently processing paper returns received during the months below. This does not include those that require error correction or other special handling.

Leave a Comment