One of the most common questions about tax returns is “Where’s my refund?” This is no surprise, given the impact of 2020 pandemic on IRS staffing. With the holidays coming and expenses piling up, it can be frustrating waiting for a response. Here are some quick tips for checking on your IRS refund:

There are three statuses that your federal return goes through after it reaches the IRS:

  • The first status is “return received”. This means that the IRS has received the return, but they haven’t looked at it yet. IRS usually acknowledges that a return has been received within 24 or 48 hours of e-filing the return.
  • The next status is “return processed” or “return accepted”. This means that the IRS has looked at the return, has not found any errors that cause rejection and has processed the return.
  • The last status is “refund sent”, which means that the IRS has transmitted the refund electronically to the bank account that you provided, or they have mailed the check. The IRS usually issues the refund within 21 days of accepting the return.

There are various things that can slow your refund down.

  • If you mailed in your return, this can result in a three week or longer delay in processing. The return has to wind its way through the postal service and the IRS paper return processing center, both of which are critically understaffed.
  • If there are any critical errors or missing pieces of information, the IRS may reject the return so it never gets to “return accepted”.
  • Lastly, keep in mind that if you owe on previous years, IRS will apply any refund to these debts first before sending you a refund.

You can always check the status of your return online at

Clergy Financial Resources verifies all electronically filed returns with e-filing confirmation before you get billed, so you know that the return has been accepted. If you are interested in having Clergy Financial Resources prepare your taxes, visit our website at to sign up today.

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Clergy Financial Resources serves as a resource for clients to help analyze the complexity of clergy tax law, church payroll & HR issues. Our professionals are committed to helping clients stay informed about tax news, developments and trends in various specialty areas.

This article is intended to provide readers with guidance in tax matters. The article does not constitute, and should not be treated as professional advice regarding the use of any particular tax technique. Every effort has been made to assure the accuracy of the information. Clergy Financial Resources and the author do not assume responsibility for any individual’s reliance upon the information provided in the article. Readers should independently verify all information before applying it to a particular fact situation, and should independently determine the impact of any particular tax planning technique. If you are seeking legal advice, you are encouraged to consult an attorney.

For more information or if you need additional assistance, please use the contact information below.

Clergy Financial Resources
11214 86th Avenue N.
Maple Grove, MN 55369

Tel: (888) 421-0101 
Fax: (888) 876-5101


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