Common IRS Where’s My Refund Questions and Errors


The IRS had made huge progress in trying to be transparent about the refund process. But, with every step forward, there are two steps back. The IRS used to publish an IRS refund calendar, but they discontinued that for the new “21 days for 90% of filers”.They have also introduced tools like Where’s My Refund (now simply called Check My Refund Status) and IRS2Go, both designed to let filers see where their refunds are. But, like anything that deals with the impatient public, if things don’t work right, it can be a struggle.I get it, you want to know where your tax refund is, and dealing with the IRS can be both scary and challenging.​After hearing all types of questions over the years, here is our list of common IRS Where’s My Refund questions, comments, concerns, errors, and more.If you’re seeing something not on this list, leave a comment and share your story so that we can keep track of issues as they arise, and hopefully help or reassure others in the future. Or, check out our Tax Center for more info.

Basically, some banks take several days to process ETF transfers into accounts. The IRS will be sending the money on the date listed. However, your bank may not post it to your account for several days.Note: one of the biggest problems we see here with direct deposits is that the name listed on the bank account doesn’t match the tax return. This can be due to a spouse’s or partner’s name on the account, but it can also be due to identity theft – which is what the IRS is concerned about. The bottom line is to make sure the name on your bank account matches your tax return information!

The IRS has been cracking down on identity theft for the last several years. This is a great thing, because a lot of people were becoming victims of tax refund identity theft.However, a lot of people think they are “verifying their identity” when they call the IRS. And while this is true, it’s not identity theft related.

​I keep getting tons and tons of questions about ID verification, so I tracked down the IRS Operational Guidelines, and here is what the IRS is going to do whenever you call and inquire about your tax refund. This is straight from the IRS operational manual:

So what does that all mean? It means that you have to verify your identity whenever you contact the IRS! So stop worrying about it or thinking that it had anything to do with your return.No. If you had no issue with your account, you don’t have to wait 6 weeks or 9 weeks. Even if you get an Error Code 9001, you don’t have to wait.Don’t believe me? Well first, here’s a screenshot from one of our readers who got the 9001 error on 2/5, and now has a direct deposit date:​

Second, still don’t believe me? Why would these IRS agents tell me that I need to wait? Because that’s what the operations manual tells them to do.We went digging because a lot of people were talking about it, and here’s why they tell you this (this is straight from the IRS Operations Manual):​

That sounds scary, but what does each of them mean?The letter means additional information is required. They will tell you what to expect. If you’re selected for review, they will tell you and will not hide this fact. It doesn’t necessarily mean anything, and about 1% of returns are selected every year randomly.​This means they honestly don’t know what you’re calling them because your return is in process. eForm 4442 just documents the fact you called and it’s not ID theft. If they suspect you are a victim of identity theft, they fill out a different form. The advice of 6 weeks is simply because they have no issues with your return, so wait and see if they do! If you call back, the same rules apply – they will simply document it and tell you to wait 6 weeks.​So where did the 9 weeks come from? We couldn’t find it anywhere, but we think that it has to do with reps really trying to advice you NOT to call, because you don’t have to!

When you file your refund, the first bar you’re waiting for is for your “Return to be Received”. This only means that the IRS was able to process your return. It has nothing to do with anything other than a system check that your return was valid.The next bar is “Refund Approved”. This means that your tax refund was approved and you should be getting a direct deposit date (or check mailed).The final bar is “Refund Sent”, which means that the IRS has sent your refund by check or direct deposit.

Some Where’s My Refund users have reported losing all their bars, or no bars are showing up.This means NOTHING.Typically, this is more of a website/programming issue, than a system or status issue. It might have to do with your web browser or phone. It might have to do with the IRS systems being overloaded with traffic.Regardless, it means nothing for you as the person waiting for a tax refund.

IRS Error Code 9001 is becoming a very common error code that a lot of people are reporting on Where’s My Refund.But what does it mean? According to the IRS, all it means is that the Where’s My Refund system (or IRS2Go) was accessed by a secondary SSN on the return.Some of the common themes I see with this are:The bottom line is that IRS Code 9001 means NOTHING for your return status. It has nothing to do with identity theft directly (but it could), and it is no reason to call the IRS. For more information, see our detailed write-up on IRS Code 9001.

There are about 100 different error codes that could happen using Where’s My Refund. The IRS is very detailed, and has a system or process for everything. If you’re getting an error code when logging into WMR, here what to do.​Check out our list of all the IRS Where’s My Refund Error Codes.Once you know your code, you might need to call the IRS, or you might need to wait for them to send you a letter explaining what happened.Some of the common error codes simply have to do with typos. Make sure you double-check your return!What questions do you have? What are you seeing out there?

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