Why Has My Refund Been Accepted But Not Approved?

Understanding the IRS Return Status “Accepted But Not Approved”

When you file your tax return, the IRS acknowledges its receipt with the status “Accepted.” However, this doesn’t mean your return has been approved or processed. The “Accepted But Not Approved” status indicates that the IRS has received your return but has not yet reviewed it.

What Happens After Your Return is Accepted?

After acceptance, the IRS typically follows these steps:

  • Review: Your return is reviewed for accuracy and completeness.
  • Approval: If no issues are found, your return is approved, and your refund is scheduled.
  • Issuance: Your refund is sent via direct deposit or mail.

Reasons for Delayed Approval

Several factors can delay the approval of your return, including:

  • Paper Filing: Paper returns take longer to process than e-filed returns.
  • Errors or Incomplete Information: Errors or missing information can trigger a review and delay.
  • Identity Theft or Fraud: The IRS may delay processing if it suspects identity theft or fraud.
  • Suspicious Bank Activity: Flags on your bank account can delay the release of your refund.
  • Certain Tax Credits: Claims for certain tax credits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), can delay processing.

How to Check Your Refund Status

You can check the status of your refund using the IRS’s “Where’s My Refund?” tool or the IRS2Go mobile app. You’ll need your Social Security number, filing status, and refund amount.

What to Do if Your Refund is Delayed

If your refund is delayed, consider the following steps:

  • Wait: Allow ample time for processing, especially if you filed a paper return or claimed certain tax credits.
  • Check Your Status: Use the IRS tools to monitor your refund’s progress.
  • Contact the IRS: If your refund is significantly delayed, you can call the IRS for assistance.

Receiving the “Accepted But Not Approved” status doesn’t necessarily indicate a problem. However, it’s important to understand the reasons for delayed approval and take appropriate actions if your refund is significantly delayed. By being aware of the IRS’s processing procedures, you can minimize delays and ensure a smooth tax filing experience.

Why has my refund been accepted but not approved?


Can your tax refund be accepted but not approved?

A federal return that’s been ‘accepted’ means it has passed an initial screening, which includes some basic checks. Once it has entered this phase, its status will remain the same until it has been “Approved.” This would mean it has been processed and that the IRS has approved the release of your refund.

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

(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.

Can IRS deny refund after accepted?

No, once the IRS accepts the return, it will not be rejected after. However, they may request additional information from you at any time. If you have received notice that the IRS accepted your return, you can be confident they have it, though that does not always mean they have processed it yet.

Why is my accepted refund taking so long?

While the IRS aims to process most refunds within 21 days, especially for e-filed returns, this isn’t guaranteed. Delays can happen due to errors, the need for additional review, or specific claims like EITC or ACTC.

What does IRS accepted return but not approved mean?

The tax return filing status, “IRS Accepted Return But Not Approved,” means that the IRS received a submitted tax return but has not evaluated it yet. The IRS provides 3 tax return status updates: Return Received, Refund Approved, and Refund Sent.

What does’refund approved’ mean on a tax return?

Return received. Refund approved. Refund sent. When the status changes to “refund approved,” the IRS is preparing to send the refund, either as a direct deposit to the taxpayer’s bank account or directly to the taxpayer by a check in the mail to the address on their tax return. Taxpayers don’t need to check their refund status more than once a day.

Why does where’s my refund say ‘approved’ but TurboTax says ‘accepted’?

Why does Where’s My Refund say “approved” but TurboTax still says “accepted”? Accepted is the status of your tax return— not your tax refund. Once your return has been accepted (received) by the government, they take over the refund status update duties, since they hold the purse strings. The status in TurboTax will remain as accepted.

How long does it take for a refund to be approved?

Processing times vary depending on the information submitted on your tax return, but most returns change from return received to refund approved after only a few days. Does Where’s My Refund? always display my refund status showing the different stages of return received, refund approved and refund sent?

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