Are you still waiting for your federal income tax return refund? You’re not alone. According to a Dec. 1 notice from the IRS: “While, as of November 24, 2020, we had 7.1 million unprocessed individual tax returns and 2.3 million unprocessed business returns, the IRS expects to issue all refunds for 2019 individual tax returns in 2020 where there are no issues with the return.”

Although the context of the notice indicates delays are due to backlogged mail, it was unclear how many of the unprocessed returns are paper versus electronic returns. Paper returns generally take longer to process, especially this year when sorting facilities were affected by the pandemic.

How much longer will you have to wait? The IRS says: “It depends on where you sent your tax return and where it is in the process. In some locations, we are caught up or almost caught up. In other locations we are processing returns we received over the summer due to the extended July 15 tax filing due date and, in some cases, are processing tax returns dated as early as April 15, 2020.”

What you should do:¬†Nothing. The IRS says there’s no way to speed your return’s processing. If the IRS contacts you with a question on your return, respond promptly; otherwise, just sit and wait. Do not assume your return is lost and file again, and do not call the IRS just to ask where you are in the queue. You can go to the IRS “Where’s My Refund” page (also available as a mobile app), which may give you a limited update. Note that it’s only updated once a day, so don’t keep clicking on it every few minutes like it’s a government-sponsored version of Minecraft.

If you have any questions about your taxes in the meantime, don’t hesitate to give us a call.

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