According to the IRS, the agency issues nine out of ten refunds in less than 21 calendar days, provided they are e-filed and the direct deposit option is used. But the website also says tax returns requiring additional review may take longer.
Despite what the website states, many people know the wait can be longer, especially if you filed a paper return or requested a refund as a check. The IRS indicates that the time may be as much as four weeks or more for taxpayers filing paper returns to receive their refund.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic. The unprecedented challenge of filing millions of tax returns when workers were away from the office made processing returns challenging.
Over the past decade, the IRS has had its budget cut, causing chronic understaffing problems. It has also been hampered by a lack of access to new technology. The pandemic exacerbated these deficiencies.
The IRS began the year with a 10 million tax return backlog. But the agency has received more funding through last year’s Inflation Reduction Act, allowing it to hire roughly 5,000 more customer service agents and install new technology.