13 Common IRS "Where is My Refund" Questions And Errors (2024)

The IRS has invested considerable effort in making tax return processing transparent over the last few decades. The agency offers multiple tools taxpayers can use to check their tax return’s status.

Where’s My Refund and Where’s My Amended Return tools are available on the IRS website to keep you up to date with the latest changes the IRS made to your account. In addition, Get Transcript and IRS2Go also enable you to monitor the processing of your tax return.

The only problem is that codes the IRS uses to communicate with taxpayers can be challenging to interpret because their meaning often depends on the context.

We’ll cover the thirteen most common IRS Where is My Refund questions and errors to make using this online app a little easier.

Table of Contents

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WMR tool is by no means a novelty. The IRS introduced it in 2002, and only a year later, the online app had over 18 million registered users. After two decades, WMR offers one of the most reliable ways for taxpayers to monitor the status of their tax returns.

Its interface is simple because it only has Refund Received, Refund Approved, and Refund Sent tabs. All error codes in WMR will appear in one of these three tabs.

That’s because the issues with processing your tax return can occur before it enters the IMF system or during the processing stages. Sometimes, the IRS can delay sending your refund, but this usually happens if the taxpayer’s bank details are incorrect.

If you’re new to WMR, you’ll need to create an account on the IRS website before you can start using this tool.

The Most Common Where’s My Refund Questions And Errors

A myriad of issues ranging from a math error to suspicion of tax fraud can be the reason your WMR account displays an error code.

The IRS is overwhelmed with tax returns during the filing seasons, so your refund could be delayed because the IRS lacks the workforce to process all returns within a three-week timeframe.

Paper tax returns take longer to process, and you’ll have to wait six to eight weeks for your refund if you opt for this filing method.

Let’s go through the thirteen most common Where’s My Refund errors and questions.

1. What’s the Difference Between Being Processed and Still Being Processed Messages?

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The IRS will add the ‘We have received your message, and it’s being processed’ message to the WMR’s Refund Status tab approximately 24 hours after you e-file your return.

This message indicates that the IRS accepted your return and uploaded it to the Individual Master File system.

‘Your tax return is still being processed’ message suggests the IRS has detected an issue that will delay processing beyond the three-week limit.

The message doesn’t reveal why processing was delayed. It will disappear if the IRS can amend the problem without your help. Please check our IRS being processed vs. still being processed article for more information about this issue.

2. Why is My Where’s My Refund Displaying Tax Topic 151?

Treasury Offset Program enables the IRS to collect taxpayers’ federal tax debts. So, tax topic 151 might appear on your WMR account if you fall behind on your child support or student loan payments prior to filing a return.

This tax topic contains an overview of your appeal rights and the list of documents you should look at for more information on how to appeal the IRS’ decision to collect a non-tax debt and prevent further tax liability accrual.

Remember that you’re still eligible for a refund if this tax topic appears on your account, but only if the refund amount exceeds the amount you owe.

3. What is Tax Topic 152?

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This tax topic indicates that the processing of your tax return is ongoing. Hence, the IRS didn’t approve or reject it yet.

You don’t have to do anything if you see this reference code on your account, but be patient and wait for further instructions from the IRS. Here are some of the reasons the IRS might add this tax topic to your account:

  • You claimed EITC or Child Tax Credit on your return.
  • Incorrect information on a tax return. Tax topic 303 replaces tax topic 152 if the IRS cannot correct the error without your assistance.

What to learn more about this reference code? Please read our article about what tax topic 152 means if you’re still unsure whether it’s good or bad.

4. Should I Be Concerned About Reference Number 1242?

The short answer is yes. Reference number 1242 could indicate a potentially serious issue that requires your full attention. In most cases, this code indicates that the IRS suspects a tax fraud or identity theft.

You’ll receive a CP05 notice soon after this reference number appears on your WMR account. The document contains instructions on how to resolve the matter that caused the processing delay.

The good news is that you won’t have to do anything until the IRS contacts you or your authorized representative if you filed a tax return. However, they may need up to two months to complete the additional review.

So the only thing you can do during this time is to keep monitoring your tax return’s status on WMR. Follow this link if you need more information about this reference number.

5. Does Code 1541 Mean I’m Not Getting My Refund?

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This code can indicate that you owe more federal taxes than you reported on your tax return, and as a result, you may no longer be eligible for a refund.

The IRS will add Code 1514 to your WMR account to inform you that they’ve adjusted your tax liability and put the processing of your return on hold until the debt is collected.

If you claimed a child tax credit or EITC on your return, this C-Freeze code only indicates that the IRS cannot issue your refund before February 15. Our article about Code 1541 can help you determine the circ*mstances under which this code means you’re ineligible for a refund.

6. Is Error Code 9021 Difficult to Amend?

Math errors often cause processing delays. Reference number 9021 informs you that the IRS detected such an error on your return, but it doesn’t specify the nature of the mistake.

Code 9021 can also refer to a clerical error, like a misspelled first name or insufficient information on a tax return. The steps you’ll be required to take will depend on the mistake.

Sometimes the IRS will adjust a taxable income or tax credit amount and only use Code 9021 to notify you that your original return is amended. However, resolving Code 9021 issues isn’t always straightforward.

Please go through our piece on Code 9021 for more information.

7. Why is My WMR Account Showing a ‘We Can’t Provide Information about Your Refund’ Message?

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You’ll see the ‘We Can’t Provide Information about You Refund’ message on your WMR account if you check your return’s status too soon.

The IRS needs between 24 and 48 hours to approve and add an e-filed return to its IMF system or a couple of weeks if you file a return on paper. This message will be displayed on your WMR account during this time.

Incorrect SSN or EIN, wrong filing status, and typing errors could also be why this message popped up on your account. Click on the link to find out why the IRS can’t provide more information about your refund.

8. What Does Code 1361 Mean?

The IRS adjusts standard deductions annually. You must check the deduction amount you can claim in a tax year while preparing a return, even if your filing status is the same as a year before.

Moreover, claiming a new dependent on a tax return or suffering a life-altering injury can affect the standard tax deduction amount you can claim.

Code 1361 will appear on your WMR account if the IRS determines that you have a federal tax debt or incorrectly claimed a tax deduction. Put simply, this code usually indicates that the IRS intends to audit your return.

More information about this topic is available in our IRS Code 1361 article.

9. The IRS Accepted My Return. When Will the Funds Be in My Bank Account?

The official tax return processing deadline is three weeks. Bear in mind that the IRS works weekends during the filing season, so the deadline isn’t 21 workdays.

You’ll usually receive your refund three weeks after the IRS accepts your tax return and uploads it to the IMF system. Refunds for paper tax returns are typically approved in six to eight weeks.

Your refund could be delayed for a broad spectrum of reasons. That’s why knowing the exact date the tax refund will reach your bank account as soon as the IRS accepts your return is impossible.

10. Should I Contact the IRS if I Don’t Receive My Refund Before the Direct Deposit Date?

A direct deposit date will be added to your WMR account after the IRS approves your tax refund.

This date is usually followed by the instruction to contact the IRS if you don’t receive the refund by a different date as a precaution.

Banks sometimes need a few days to process the payment, which is why the direct deposit date and the date after which you should get in touch with the IRS aren’t the same.

Ensure that the name on the tax return matches the name associated with the bank account you give to the IRS to avoid potential complications. This is particularly important for taxpayers who choose Married Filing Jointly status on their returns.

11. Is Identity Verification Necessary?

The IRS takes identity theft seriously. As a result, all taxpayers must provide sufficient proof of their identity when filing returns. The IMF system sometimes randomly flags tax returns for an additional identity check.

Also, you’ll be asked to provide your SSN or TIN, filing status, and exact refund amount when logging in to your WMR account. Taxpayers who opt to check their tax return’s status by phone or at the local IRS office are asked to provide the following information:

  • Full name and the spouse’s name for joint filers
  • SSN, TIN or ITIN
  • Date of Birth
  • Address

12. Why Can’t I Access the WMR App?

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You must wait at least 24 hours after e-filing your tax return before attempting to check its status with WMR. The IRS recommends waiting a month after filing a paper tax return before using this tool to check its status.

The WMR app could also be unavailable due to a high traffic volume on the IRS website, so the best solution is to wait a while before attempting to log in again.

The IRS schedules WMR system downtime every Monday between midnight and 3 am Eastern Time.

The app’s Refund Trace feature is unavailable during these hours:

  • Sunday – Monday – From midnight until 7 pm.
  • Tuesday – Friday – 3:30 am until 6 am.
  • Saturday – 3:30 am until 6 am and 9 pm until midnight

13. What to Do If I See Error Code 9001 On My WMR Account?

You and your spouse can access the same tax return with WMR if you choose the married, filing jointly status on the return.

Still, only one person can use their (primary) SSN or TIN to log in to WMR and check the return’s status. Error Code 9001 will appear on your account if you or your spouse try to use the secondary SSN or TIN to log in to WMR.

This code doesn’t affect your return’s status, as its purpose is to inform you that you should log in to WMR with your return’s primary TIN.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is WMR Better than IRS2Go?

Both apps are equally effective as they allow you to quickly check your tax return’s status and keep up with the most recent updates. IRS2Go might be a better option if you need assistance preparing a return or want to use the IRS Direct Pay option.

Can I Request a Tax Transcript with WMR?

You cannot access IRS tax transcripts with WMR. You must use the Get Transcript tool if you need a tax return transcript or a tax account transcript.

How Many Error Codes Can WMR Show?

The IRS uses approximately a hundred error codes in the WMR app, but most don’t require any action from a taxpayer.

Handling Common IRS Where is My Refund Errors?

There’s no need to spring into action as soon as you see a code on your WMR account. The IRS will send you a notice if there’s anything you can do to resolve the matter that triggered a specific code.

Even if you manage to reach an agent, calling the IRS won’t accomplish much unless the WMR tool instructs you to do so.

Speaking to a tax professional is usually the best course of action if you’re concerned that a particular code indicates a potentially complex tax issue you cannot solve alone.

13 Common IRS "Where is My Refund" Questions And Errors (2024)
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