The question ‘why are my taxes taking so long’ begins with the basic concept of taxation itself, it’s tiresome and stressful for many, nonetheless of a high importance when it comes to managing finances. And what better to start explaining why my taxes are taking so long than to explain taxes first.
Taxes are the financial charges payer by the tax payers (which could be an individual or an entity) to the government of a state/country. These taxes then fund various expenses incurred in the projects for the general public’s interest. There are direct or indirect taxes and evasion of taxes could lead to severe legal consequences.

Taxes are imposed on people, entities, businesses, trusts or any other form of organization. These taxes are mainly based on the income of individuals/ businesses, property owned, imports, or various other factors. However, many of the tax payers are seen questioning why are their taxes taking so long, which could be answered highlighting few points about tax returns and refunds.

Tax Returns

Tax returns are referred to the forms filled and submitted with the government containing details about the entire amount of tax paid by a tax paying individual/ entity. Tax returns are filed with the IRS (Internal revenue Service) in the United States of America. Tax returns could also be filled with the local tax collection agencies. The information contained in these documents is the amounts and details of the taxes paid to the government and this is done using the format of the forms provided by the state.

It is possible one might find oneself wondering why are my taxes taking so long, well, that is not unusual cases and happens to the most of us. Taxes take long to return because of various factors such as the fact that you could have sent the wrong documents in the first place. The answer to why my taxes are taking so long could also lie in the fact that there has been a case of missing information which was vital to tax returns or wrong number mentioned for social security. For the question why my taxes are taking so long the answer could be found in the fact that some people actually send the wrong tax form and this amount of irresponsible behavior would always leave individuals questions themselves as to why my taxes are taking so long.

According to IRS, all the taxes are to be returned with the refund (90%) to the tax return form sender within the span of 21 days and if you’re still worried about why are my taxes taking so long, then there could be some discrepancy. If the taxes are not returned within the promised time of 21 days, it is better to wait for a few days (ideally a week) before taking an action regarding it. If you’re still wondering and worried as to why my taxes are taking so long, start with reviewing your documents that you’ve sent forth and check for the basic mistakes such as social security number, signatures and other general details.

With the introduction of Internal Revenue Service’s filing and the e-filing system, the turnaround time for the tax returns has reduced to a significant number which means less people worried about why my taxes are taking so long. Mostly, the returns are processed within three weeks of filing date and filers receive their refunds at the earliest possible time. And the fact that many people question why my taxes are taking so long depends on the tax payers who delay filing which eventually results in the delay of tax refund, also it could be the case of simplest errors that could easily have been avoided by the tax payer.

Mistakes to Avoid When Filing Tax Returns

In order to avoid yourself from the monstrous question and the pain of waiting thinking ‘why are my taxes taking so long’, following mistakes shall be avoided:

a)   Calculation Errors

One of the basic mistakes that lead to the question in the mind of tax payer as to why are my taxes taking so long, is that the errors occurred during calculation of taxes are not rectified before filing the forms. Computation errors made in the tax return forms are a common mistake especially in the forms filled manually which have higher chances of calculation mistakes. Some of the common math errors include mistakes in taxable income, child and dependent care credit information or social security income which is wrongly calculated leading in delayed tax returns.

b)   Wrong Social Security Number

The mismatch of the social security number in the filed tax returns forms results in delayed tax refunds thus leaving you questioning why are my taxes taking so long. This is an important detail used for verification of tax return information and if there’s a mistake on your part when filing the tax return forms it could delay the refund procedure no matter how efficiently you’ve filed it earliest on your part. Thus individuals are required to correct the social security number before resubmitting their returns.

c)    Requesting for Indirect Deposit

In case of direct deposit there is mostly no delay of deposit of the refund amount, however when it comes to indirect deposit, IRS has to issue a paper check which takes time depending on the postal services and thus the refund is delayed and you wonder why are my taxes taking so long – when this could have been avoided by direct deposits.

d)   Filing Too Early

Filing tax returns before or after the prescribed time results in the tax payer waiting for the refund amount and wondering why my taxes are taking so long, when there’s nothing wrong with the information provided just the timings. Some people are too eager to receive their tax refund that they file it earlier than the time and that actually works against them. With the last minute changes in codes or procedures your payment could be delayed despite being filed for before prescribed time. These delays are not for too long but could be avoided with the right timings.

Similarly, filing after the due date (too late) definitely works against your interests when it comes about tax returns. Filing at the last minute results in delayed payments for days because of the increased paperwork in the end (that is if you filed on paper) and also there could be a case of identity theft when someone else uses your social security number to claim refund.

e)   Amendments

Amendments could be needed anytime in tax return forms but better make them before you finally hit the submission. Amending the tax return forms after the submission creates a lot of ambiguity. This needs to be taken into consideration that in case of amendments, there’s no option of e-filing it. You have to mail it to the IRS for any of the changes you’ve made. However, amended filings need time to be processed and thus results in delayed payments.

f)     Avoiding E-Filing

Since IRS has introduced the procedure of e-filing, it has increased in the convenience for both the tax payer sand the organization to process it. It is also a safe and quick method and results in quick payments if no errors occur. However if you’re filing on paper and wondering why are my taxes taking so long, you’re mistaken in the first place – Paper filing definitely needs more time to be processed. This is because the information on the paper forms needs to be fed in the computer with proper data tabulation and it takes a lot of time rather than the tax payer doing the task instead of filling it in ink.

Tax Refund

Tax refund is the amount of taxes that are paid back to the tax payers by the government when the tax liability is less than the amount paid in taxation by an individual or an entity. Also if the tax payers owe less than the amount of taxes they paid (withholding and estimated taxes) and added to that are the refundable taxes filed for by the tax payers.

Often people are found why are my taxes taking so long, there could be various reasons ranging from filing errors to timing issues. The good part is, tax payers can check their refund status which is just a click away- thanks to the technological advancements which have made lives easier in general and that of tax payers worried about tax refunds a lot, simpler. The time to wait for the tax refunds depend on the method of filing, whether you’ve filed online on the website or by paper- in the later case it takes more time as the department has to enter data in the computers (which is why tax payers are requested to fill in online in the first place).

Methods to Check Tax Refund Status

The budding concern as to why my taxes are taking so long could be satiated with the following methods:

a)    Online Method

The simplest of the methods to check the status of your tax refund is doing it online; all you need is a stable internet connection and authentic information. Technological advancement has erased the pain of estimating (through IRS Refund Cycle Chart) and waiting for the unknown date of the tax refunds and worrying yourself sick with delayed payments. Now if you have a question in your mind such as ‘why are my taxes taking so long?’ you simply log on to the IRS website and the information is one click away. There’s an online tracker tool that answers this question effectively, and the tax refund status is studied and answered for:

  • Tax Return Received
  • Approved
  • Sent

In case of filing on paper, the tax return tool would show the status ‘received’ after four weeks of filing unlike online transaction. For this personal information such as social security number and refund amount along with filing status has to be entered.

b)    Checking Status by Phone

A convenient option to check the status of your tax refund is simply by using the phone. This is one of the oldest methods and includes simply a call to the IRS Refund Hotline which would give the status of your tax refund payment. However, even for this you have to keep you social security number, tax refund amount and status, handy in order to promptly answer.

c)     Checking Status with Smartphone Application

With the advent of Smartphone, not only life has become easier when communication is concerned, but also when information is sought it is just a phone click away, and easily accessible. With the help of IRS2GO application on your Smartphone, you can easily check your tax refund status without the hassle of logging in and entering the detailed information. The tax refund amount, social security number and the status has to be entered to gain access to the information.

Factors Influencing the Speed of Tax Refund

Tax payers in deficit would definitely delay filing on purpose but the ones who are eager to receive refund payments because they owe it are too anxious and wait with their entire mind on the payments. They are often seen wondering as to why are my taxes taking so long if they haven’t received the payment in the promised duration of 21 days after filing the tax return form with IRS. Following are the factors that need to be kept in mind when filing for tax refunds in order to speed up the procedures:

a)   Star with Organization of Tasks and Necessary Paperwork

Being organized in the official matters as well as the personal matters keep you free from the hassle of searching through a huge pile of information to find the required information. Similar is the case when you’re trying to avoid the situation where you question yourself ‘why are my taxes taking so long’ , it is better to stay organized and prepared by doing necessary filing and paperwork thus to keep everything in order for filing of the information for tax refunds. The W-2 forms, deduction statements and 1099 forms are the necessary tax documents that are required to file tax returns with IRS. Your own negligence towards filing and organizing information could lead you to a long wait for your refund payments.

b)   Opt for E-Filing

Individuals filing for tax refund payments through paperwork are often seen wondering why are my taxes taking so long, of course they will take long with all the data the department officials have to enter into their electronic system which you have provided in ink. It’s better to avoid paper filing and opt for e-filing for payments to have a higher chance of being received on time. Earlier IRS had provided the option of filing by phone (Tele File) but that service is discontinued and among the options, e-filing is the better one to speed up payment procedures.

c)    Direct Deposit Is Better Than Indirect Deposit Request

Many people request indirect deposit of the payment of tax refund amount and then are seen worrying about why are my taxes taking so long. This could easily be avoided simply by requesting a direct deposit in your account rather than asking for an indirect deposit. The indirect deposit is a long procedure in itself including a pay check that is sent to the tax payer via post that takes a few days, and if there’s some ambiguity, the payments are further delayed. Thus it is better to request direct deposits to avoid the long waiting period of the tax refund amount.

d)   Using Online Tax preparation Method

There’s a software designed for the sake of preparing tax payers for online tax filing, how much more convenient technology could be? No more do people have to worry questioning why are my taxes taking so long when their method for filing would be accurate. This tax software guides people in reducing the amount of time needed for tax refund filing. This software helps by making sure that the individuals prepare in compliance with all the requirements of the tax return filing by IRS. This way the tax payers don’t have to refer to the IRS tax booklet every now and then for each step, rather this software helps in that area by making you work in compliance with the current tax laws by the state. This way, there are chances of les or no amount of errors in case of filing for the tax refunds and this way the time for payments would be reduced and no delays would be faced by you.

The major factors influencing the tax refund payments could be controlled by the tax payers with careful considerations and organized planning so to avoid any unnecessary delays caused by the tax payers. However, in some cases there could be genuine reasons for delays in payments but according to IRS policy, 21 day time would not be much stretched for the tax refund payments.


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