The IRS Rolls Out a New and Improved "Where's My Refund" Site

Mark Hake

The IRS announced yesterday that its "Where's My Refund" site is now "better than ever." It has also been updated on the IRS's mobile app: IRS2GO.

It wants investors to have more faith in this improved site.

The changes, however, seem to be minimal. The main one seems to be that you can check your refunds for the past three years: 2019, 2020, and 2021.

Apparently, before this, you could only check for the past 2 years.

Of course, that begs the question: Is the IRS still behind on issuing refunds for 2019 and 2020? (Not sure if this means it's also still behind on the refunds for 2021, but that seems likely).

What the Site and App Does

Taxpayers can check the status of their refund on the site or the app within:

  • 24 hours after e-filing a 2021 tax year return.
  • Three or four days after e-filing 2019 or 2020 returns.
  • Four weeks after mailing a return.

The IRS does not want you to call them anymore. The IRS is now extremely explicit about this. Here is what the announcement says:

"The Where's My Refund tool should be the first place people go for more information about checking the status of a tax refund."

Why You Have to Wait 21 Days

This is like the phrase "don't call me, I'll call you" or, at least wait 21 days:

"There's no need to call the IRS to check on refund status unless it's been more than 21 days since they filed the return, or the tool says the IRS can provide more information."

On March 23, the IRS announced that even if you filed electronically it can take longer than 21 days to get your refund. It gave a number of reasons.

For example, " A manual review may be necessary when a return has errors, is incomplete or is affected by identity theft or fraud."

Other reasons are:

According to Kiplinger, fewer than 10% of the people who called the IRS were able to get through last year. In fact, millions of people still have not even received their 2020 tax refunds.

Moreover, at the end of 2020, more than 11 million tax returns had not been processed, and that carried over to the 2021 season.

Bottom Line

If you can’t get through to the IRS on the phone, you will have to use their IRS2GO app, go to your account online with the IRS, or use one of their volunteer programs to get assistance.

Just don't expect to talk to anyone on the phone at the IRS.

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Mark Hake writes articles on,,, and as well as a Beehiiv free newsletter on stocks and cryptos.

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Mark Hake is a financial analyst, investor, and Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA). He writes about US and foreign stocks as well as cryptos, hedge funds, and private equity. He previously ran his own hedge fund, investment research firm, and acted as CFO for a fintech startup. He focuses on finding value, arbitrage, and hidden asset opportunities.

Phoenix, AZ

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