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When to call the IRS about your refund and how to increase the chance of speaking with an agent?

In general, the IRS issues more than 9 out of 10 refunds within less than 21 days. However, it is possible that some of the tax returns may require scrutiny and additional processing time. While some taxpayers who filed their taxes earlier in the season have already received their federal tax refunds, some others are still waiting anxiously, especially those who claimed the Earned Income Credit and the Child Tax Credit.

The IRS warned that, on average, families waiting for the child credit will see their payments until March 1.

Even though the IRS still faces staffing shortages and continues to process millions of 2020 returns, the tax agency says taxpayers will receive their refunds within 21 days of filing your e-tax return, as long as there are no errors. or inaccurate figures that require further review. In that case, the form will come under increased scrutiny and reimbursement could take even months.

Approximately 24 hours after you've submitted your tax return to the agency, you can start tracking the status of your payment using the Where's My Refund? tool. In general, the IRS issues more than 9 out of 10 refunds within less than 21 days. However, it is possible that some of the tax returns may require scrutiny and additional processing time.

So when is it appropriate to call the IRS to inquire about the status of your payment?

  • If more than 21 days have passed since you received the notification of acceptance of the e-file system.

  • It has been more than six weeks since you mailed your paper return.

  • If the Where's My Refund? prompts you to contact the IRS.


You can start checking the status of your refund within 24 hours of the IRS receiving your electronic return or within four weeks of mailing a paper return.

Have your 2021 tax return handy so you can provide the system with your Social Security number or ITIN, your filing status, and the exact refund amount shown on your return.

The Where's My Refund? tool includes a tracker that shows progress in 3 phases: (1) Return Received, (2) Refund Approved, and (3) Refund Sent.

The system also provides a custom actual date for the refund, as soon as the IRS processes your tax return and approves your refund.

The IRS advises that their agents do not have any information other than what is shown in Where's My Refund? and ask that you not call the agency, unless the tool tells you to call. The status of your refund is updated only once a day, usually at night.


1. YOU RECEIVE A GREATER AMOUNT THAN YOU EXPECTED If you receive a refund for more than the amount stated on your form, don't cash the check. For a direct deposit that was larger than expected, immediately call the IRS at 800-829-1040 and your bank or financial institution. If you receive a notice from the IRS indicating that there has been an adjustment to the amount of the refund, you must proceed as instructed in the notice. For information on how to return an erroneous refund, visit the IRS Topic 161 guide.

2. YOU RECEIVE A LOWER REFUND If you receive a refund for less than the amount stated on your form, you can cash the check. You will receive a notice explaining the difference in amounts. Follow the instructions provided in the notice. If it is determined that you should have received a higher amount, the IRS will send you a check for the difference.

3. MISSING REFUND If Your refund check is lost, stolen, or damaged, the IRS will initiate a refund trace to determine the status of the payment. Visit I lost my refund check. How do I get a replacement? for more details.


The IRS often urges taxpayers to review Where's My Refund? instead of calling, due to long wait times, but if you've exhausted all options and still haven't found a solution, here's how to contact the IRS and schedule an appointment at one of their help centers. Before you call the IRS, keep in mind that call volume is extremely high and you may have to wait to speak with a representative. The waiting time is on average about 30 minutes, but this period can be prolonged, especially on Mondays and Tuesdays. You can call the customer service number at 1-800-829-1040. The phone line works from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. local time, the IRS announced in a statement. But if you want to communicate directly to the line in Spanish you must call 1-800-829-3676.

These numbers can also help you:

  • Lost Check: 800-829-1954

  • Refund Status: 800-829-4477

  • Forms: 800-829-3676

  • Questions about refunds and offsets to IRS obligations: 800-829-1954

  • Taxpayer Advocacy Service: 877-777-4778

All services have operators who speak Spanish. Once you contact the tax agency, make sure you have the following information handy to verify your identity.

Social Security Number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)

  • Date of birth

  • Filing Status: Single, Head of Household, Married Filing Jointly, or Married Filing Separately


The IRS has help centers across the country and you can make an appointment to speak with a representative.

Here's how to schedule a meeting. Support is provided in over 150 languages.

1. Visit to locate the IRS office in your area. You just have to enter your zip code and press the 'Search' button.

2. Select the closest location and then press the option 'Make an appointment'.

3. Call the phone number of the local office you want to visit.

4. When you go to the branch, be sure to bring a government-issued photo ID, your ITIN or Social Security number, and any other documentation needed for your case, such as your children's Social Security, payment history, tax returns , and so on.

Visit for more details.

Please note that you may need to follow IRS guidelines for COVID-19; for example, the use of masks, physical distancing and rescheduling an appointment if you feel sick.

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