Q&A: Don’t forget ‘Where’s My Refund?’

Dear Liz: My CPA left off some income when electronically filing my return at the end of March. The CPA filed a corrected return a few days later. I’m owed $10,895 and still haven’t received my refund. What happened to the 21-day refund period for e-filing? I can’t get through to the IRS on the phone. The state refunded my money in only eight days.

Answer: The IRS tries to process refunds within three weeks when taxpayers file electronically and use direct deposit. But that timeframe goes out the window if there are any problems, especially in recent years.

The IRS is still dealing with a massive backlog triggered by the pandemic. The agency was already struggling with antiquated computer systems and a dwindling workforce because of years of underfunding. Then its processing centers were shuttered by lockdowns, followed by congressional orders to distribute hundreds of millions of payments (the three economic relief payments, followed by six months of advanced child tax credit payments).

You can use the “Where’s My Refund?” tool on the IRS site to track the status of your refund, but unfortunately there’s not much you can do to hurry things along.


  1. I filed in January of this year and am planning on waiting until March of next year to get my return.