Why Are My Taxes Still Pending 2021?

As the tax season comes to a close, many individuals eagerly await their tax refunds or the status of their tax returns. However, it can be frustrating and concerning to find that your taxes are still pending in 2021. There could be several reasons for this delay, and it’s essential to understand them to alleviate any worries or confusion.

1. Processing Delays: The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) processes millions of tax returns each year, which can result in delays. Factors like errors on the tax return, missing information, or a high volume of returns can contribute to the processing time.

2. Identity Verification: The IRS verifies the identity of taxpayers to prevent fraud and ensure accurate refunds. If your tax return raises any red flags, such as inconsistencies in reported income or deductions, the IRS may require additional documentation for verification, leading to a delay in processing.

3. Stimulus Payments: The IRS has been tasked with distributing multiple rounds of stimulus payments throughout 2020 and 2021. Due to the high number of payments and the complexity of eligibility criteria, the IRS may prioritize stimulus payments over processing tax returns, resulting in delayed refunds.

4. COVID-19 Impact: The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted IRS operations, leading to delays in processing tax returns. Staff shortages, social distancing measures, and increased workload due to stimulus payments have all contributed to slower processing times.

5. Error or Incomplete Information: If your tax return contains errors or is missing essential information, the IRS will need to contact you for clarification or corrections. This back-and-forth communication can prolong the processing time until all discrepancies are resolved.

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6. Tax Law Changes: Tax laws and regulations undergo regular updates and changes. If your tax return includes provisions affected by recent tax law changes, the IRS may need additional time to process your return accurately.

7. Under Review: In some cases, the IRS may select tax returns for a thorough review to ensure compliance with tax laws. This review process can take time, and until it is completed, your tax return will remain pending.

8. Paper Returns: If you filed a paper tax return instead of e-filing, the processing time may be longer. The IRS processes electronic returns more quickly and efficiently, while paper returns require manual entry and may face additional delays.


1. How long does it usually take for tax returns to be processed?
On average, the IRS processes electronic tax returns within 21 days. However, this timeframe can vary depending on the factors mentioned above.

2. Can I check the status of my tax return online?
Yes, you can check the status of your tax return using the “Where’s My Refund?” tool on the IRS website or by calling their toll-free number.

3. Will contacting the IRS expedite the processing of my tax return?
Contacting the IRS will not speed up the processing of your tax return. It is best to be patient and wait for the IRS to complete their review.

4. Can I amend my tax return while it is still pending?
Yes, you can amend your tax return even if it is still pending. However, it’s crucial to wait for the original return to be processed to avoid confusion or processing delays.

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5. What can I do if I need my tax refund urgently?
If you need your tax refund urgently, you can consider filing your tax return electronically and opting for direct deposit. This can help expedite the refund process.

6. What should I do if my tax return has been pending for an extended period?
If your tax return has been pending for an unusually long time, you can contact the IRS to inquire about the status. There may be specific issues or errors that need to be addressed.

7. Can I expect interest on my refund if my tax return is delayed?
No, the IRS does not provide interest on delayed refunds unless the delay is due to their error.

8. What if I made an error on my tax return?
If you realize that you made an error on your tax return, you can file an amended return to correct it. However, it’s essential to consult a tax professional or use tax software to ensure accuracy.

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