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Still no IRS tax refund? Early filers wonder ‘Where’s my check?’ at 21-day mark

The IRS estimated that 9 out of 10 taxpayers who filed online and used direct deposit would receive their refund within 21 days. For many, that’s today.

Still no IRS tax refund? Early filers wonder ‘Where’s my check?’ at 21-day mark
[Source Images: iStock]
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Three weeks after the start of the 2021 tax filing season, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is being beseeched by complaints from taxpayers who said they filed early but have yet to receive a refund check.

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The IRS began accepting returns on February 12, but it encouraged people to file sooner. It estimated that nine out of ten taxpayers would receive a refund within 21 days, provided they filed online and used direct deposit. For many taxpayers, that day is today. Many who have been diligently checking their bank accounts are now taking to Twitter to ask the IRS why they haven’t received their cash.

Meanwhile, some users are still apparently having trouble accessing Where’s My Refund, the online portal that lets people check the status of their tax returns. Last week, the IRS acknowledged that the tool was experiencing delays, placing a warning note at the top of the page, but it has yet to provide an update about when those issues will be resolved.

Reached for comment, an IRS spokesperson said problems with the Where’s My Refund tool have been “mostly fixed.” The tool was expected to be updated with fresh information this weekend.

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As for why some people haven’t received their refund checks even after filing early, the spokesperson said any number of issues could potentially cause a delay in the process, including a return that contained incorrect information. Basically, taxpayers should consider the 21-day timeline an estimate for spotless returns that pass through the system with zero complications.

The IRS was especially overwhelmed earlier this year as it dealt with the twin tasks of preparing for the new tax season while also delivering stimulus checks to millions of Americans. It said recently that all the checks that were authorized in December as part of previous coronavirus relief package have been distributed. However, Congress is in the process of voting on a package that would authorize a new round of payments.

This post has been updated with a response from the IRS.

About the author

Christopher Zara is a senior staff news editor for Fast Company and obsessed with media, technology, business, culture, and theater. Before coming to FastCo News, he was a deputy editor at International Business Times, a theater critic for Newsweek, and managing editor of Show Business magazine

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