How long will it take to get your tax refund after filing? IRS offers an estimate

·2 min read

Most refunds to qualified federal taxpayers should go out within 21 days of filing the return, the Internal Revenue Service said Monday.

The federal tax season opened Monday, and IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig told reporters that the key to getting a timely refund is to make sure the return is accurate, filed electronically and can be direct deposited.

It will also help to have “no issues,” IRS said in a statement. The average refund last year was more than $2,800.

IRS is urging people to get organized, and one way is to use its special preparation page.

But if someone has questions for an agency representative, IRS urged patience.

“We appreciate people’s patience as we see the light at the end of a long tunnel, as the IRS has faced a historically difficult time with too few resources and the challenge of a global pandemic,” said Ken Corbin, the IRS’ taxpayer experience officer.

The agency is still working through the 2020 backlog, and cannot say how many of last year’s refunds are still to be sent. Rettig said the agency has an “all hands on deck approach” to getting through last year’s returns.

IRS has processed 168 million in the 2021 filing season as of early December and issued 129.8 million refunds.

Getting personal help from IRS remains difficult if not nearly impossible. Erin Collins, the federal National Taxpayer Advocate, said in her annual report to Congress this month she was “deeply concerned about the upcoming filing season.”

Rettig and Corbin Monday generally agreed. They said they’re trying hard and making progress, but Rettig said phone lines would “continue to be jammed up for the foreseeable future.”

Part of the confusion involved the new laws regarding child tax credits and economic stimulus payments last year. IRS is sending letters to those who received credits or the payments.

The IRS is trying to beef up staff. “The IRS is hiring,” Corbin said.

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