2023 Tax Refunds: Will There Be Any Delays?

After four consecutive delayed tax seasons, you might wonder what the tax refund timeline 2023 holds. Here’s what to expect when filing your 2023 taxes in 2024.
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Delayed tax refund

The IRS has struggled with delayed tax refunds over the last few tax years. In each of the last few years, the IRS issued notices regarding tax refund delays in early January. So far, in 2024, the IRS remains optimistic that refunds will be processed on time.

Here is all the information we have at this time.

When Can I File My Taxes for 2023 in 2024?

The IRS announced it will begin processing 2023 tax returns on Jan. 29, 2024. This is about a week later than normal, which will push tax returns back accordingly.

However, you can start your tax return before then. Most commercial software providers will allow you to complete your tax return and schedule it to file on the day the IRS begins accepting tax returns.

The IRS opens the IRS Free File program on January 12, 2024. Taxpayers should be able to access the software on that date, and begin working on their returns.

Key 2024 filing season dates

  • January 12: IRS Free File opens.
  • January 16: Due date for 2023 fourth quarter estimated tax payments.
  • January 26: Earned Income Tax Credit Awareness Day.
  • January 29: Filing season start date for individual tax returns.
  • April 15: Due date of filing a tax return or to request an extension for most of the nation.
  • April 17: Due date for Maine and Massachusetts.
  • October 15: Due date for extension filers.

When Will I Get My Tax Refund?

The IRS issues most refunds within 21 days. However, your tax return’s complexity or other issues may influence how long it takes to process your return and your tax refund.

The IRS recommends filing electronically. This is faster, easier, and safer for taxpayers, and is faster and easier for the IRS to process. Filing a paper tax return may delay your tax refund well beyond the 21-day threshold.

We have tracked historic tax refund schedules and put together a tracker to help you estimate when you may see your tax refund, based on your filing date.

This tax refund table can give you a rough idea of when you may be able to expect your tax refund.

The IRS cautions taxpayers to remain flexible with tax refunds, as many factors may influence the exact date you receive your refund. Use any tables or schedules as a rough guideline only.

EITC Refunds Available Starting February 27

Those who file for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) may begin receiving the EITC starting February 27, 2024. This is the first date the IRS anticipates the EITC being available for most taxpayers.

Federal law prohibits the IRS from issuing EITC and Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) refunds before mid-February.

The IRS Where’s My Refund? tool should show an updated status by February 17 for most early EITC/ACTC filers. The IRS announced most EITC/ACTC electronic refunds will be received by taxpayers by February 27th.

Expect delays if you file closer to that date, if there are issues with your refund, or if you chose to receive a paper check or have your refund sent to a third party.

Known Tax Refund Delays – 2023 Tax Year

As of January 2024, the only tax refund delays the IRS has announced pertain to EITC and ACTC tax credits. We will update this page with additional information if the IRS publishes more information regarding systemic tax refund delays.

Who is Affected by Tax Refund Delays?

There are several factors that can cause a delay in your tax return:

Claiming Earned Income Tax Credit or Additional Child Tax Credit

A 2015 tax law called the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act created built-in certain rules to help protect against tax fraud and identity theft. Part of this law includes a section that requires the IRS to withhold tax refunds for taxpayers who file a tax return claiming either the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC).

By law, the IRS must withhold these returns until at least Feb. 15th of the tax filing year. However, that date represents the earliest possible date, not the expected date. Many returns that include the EITC or ACTC take slightly longer to process than returns without those.

Keep in mind it can take another week or so to receive the funds after being released by the IRS. Returns claiming the EITC or ACTC filed after this date may not be delayed.

Tax Fraud Prevention

Additional delays may apply to certain taxpayers who have previously been victims of identity theft or tax fraud. These delays can also apply to taxpayers if their return has been flagged for potential fraud or for further review.

Additional Causes for Tax Refund Delays

Additional delays may apply to filers with incomplete tax returns, tax returns with errors, or returns that require additional reviews.

The IRS plans to issue 9 out of 10 returns within 21 days, but some returns could take longer. 

The IRS’s new safeguards help screen electronic returns better and combat identity theft fraud and other scams. Such incidents cost the government hundreds of millions of dollars each year, sometimes tying up tax refunds for months while the IRS investigates the fraud (yet another reason why identity theft protection is a good idea).

What About State Tax Refund Delays?

Many states reported delays in tax refunds last year due to the government shut down. 

Most tax software companies will still allow you to complete the state tax forms. However, they will let you know if there are any delays that will impact you being able to file your taxes with your state of residence. If there are delays, you will simply need to wait. If you can file your state tax return, you may still need to wait for your state to process your return and send your refund.

Most tax software companies will still allow you to complete the state tax forms. However, they will let you know if there are any delays that will impact you being able to file your taxes with your state of residence. If there are delays, you will simply need to wait. If you can file your state tax return, you may still need to wait for your state to process your return and send your refund.

What to Do if Your Tax Refund is Delayed

First, verify the date the IRS received your tax return electronically. If you filed your tax return manually, then you may or may not be affected since it takes a while for the IRS to enter returns into the computer. This is done by hand and can take some time depending on the backlog of returns the IRS is working through.

Next, visit the IRS’s “Where’s my refund” page, to determine whether or not your tax return will be late. You may also be able to check on your refund date via your tax return software. Or, if you used an accountant, check with them. If you still can’t find an answer, contact the IRS. 

Avoid Promises That Sound Too Good to Be True

If any of the above delays apply to you, then there isn’t much you can do except wait. No tax preparer or accountant will be able to push your tax refund through more quickly. Anyone who promises they can is most likely pushing a Tax Refund Anticipation Loan, which is an advance on your tax return.

In most cases, you receive your tax refund upfront and sign over the return to the company – usually in exchange for a hefty fee. In almost every case you will be much better off waiting for your return instead of taking an advance and paying the excessive fees.

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  1. worried says

    I filed electronically may 15th and today is august 3rd and it’s “still being processed” 🙁 it’s never been this late before. what should i do – try calling the IRS?

  2. carol gallagher says

    I paper filed my return on 4/12/21 and the online irs website shows no acknowledgement of having received it and i cannot get a live person.

    • Ryan Guina says

      I’m sorry to hear this, Carol. I don’t have any insight into the IRS process. I recommend seeing you have a receipt showing you filed your tax return. That will at least verify you have done your part. You should be able to get confirmation through the tax software program or your tax preparer if you used either of them. Unfortunately, if you filed a paper return, you may not get confirmation and the IRS may also not provide confirmation online. Best wishes!

    • Ryan Guina says

      Arlynwilliams, the IRS is the only agency that will have any insight into your tax return. I am not aware of any other agency to contact. Best wishes.

  3. Tabitha says

    I filed the first of February then corrected my taxes the first of March and I am still waiting. I don’t trust my tax person on the sending the information the irs requested and I have not heard they received it.

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