Why Is My Tax Return Still Being Processed 2020

Filing a tax return can be a stressful experience for many individuals. After meticulously preparing and submitting all the necessary documents, it can be frustrating to find out that your tax return is still being processed. There are several reasons why this may occur, and understanding them can help alleviate some of the anxiety associated with the process.

1. High Volume of Filings: One of the main reasons why your tax return is still being processed is the sheer volume of returns that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) receives. With millions of taxpayers filing their returns each year, it can take some time for the IRS to process and review all the documents.

2. Errors or Incomplete Information: Another common reason for delays in processing tax returns is errors or missing information on the forms. If there are any discrepancies or mistakes, the IRS may need to reach out to you for clarification or additional documentation. This can further prolong the processing time.

3. Identity Theft Concerns: Due to the rising incidents of identity theft, the IRS has implemented stricter security measures. If your tax return raises any suspicions or triggers red flags, it may undergo a more thorough review to ensure that it is not fraudulent. This can result in a longer processing time.

4. Refundable Credits or Deductions: If you have claimed refundable credits or deductions, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit, your tax return may take longer to process. These credits require additional verification and scrutiny by the IRS.

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5. Manual Review Required: In some cases, your tax return may need to undergo a manual review by an IRS agent. This can occur if there are complex tax issues, discrepancies, or if your return has been selected for a random audit. Manual reviews can significantly extend the processing time.

6. Prior-year Tax Debts: If you owe any outstanding tax debts from previous years, the IRS may apply your current year’s refund to offset those debts. This process, known as a refund offset, can delay the processing of your tax return.

7. COVID-19 Pandemic: The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on various sectors, including the IRS. The agency has faced staffing shortages and operational challenges, leading to delays in processing tax returns.

8. Incorrect Direct Deposit Information: If you have provided incorrect or outdated direct deposit information for your refund, it can lead to delays. The IRS may need to mail a paper check instead, increasing the processing time.


1. How long does it take for the IRS to process a tax return?
The processing time can vary depending on several factors, but typically it takes around three weeks for the IRS to process an electronically-filed tax return.

2. Can I check the status of my tax return?
Yes, the IRS provides an online tool called “Where’s My Refund?” where you can check the status of your tax return.

3. What should I do if my tax return is taking longer than expected to process?
If your tax return is taking longer than expected, it is best to wait until the IRS provides an update through their online tool. If significant time has passed, you can contact the IRS for further assistance.

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4. Will my tax return be processed faster if I file it early?
Filing your tax return early does not necessarily guarantee a faster processing time. The IRS processes returns in the order they are received, regardless of the filing date.

5. Can I contact the IRS for an update on my tax return?
Yes, you can contact the IRS for an update on your tax return. However, keep in mind that they receive a high volume of inquiries, so it may take time to get a response.

6. Will filing an amended return further delay the processing of my tax return?
Yes, filing an amended return can further delay the processing of your tax return. Amended returns require manual review and can take several months to process.

7. Can I make changes to my tax return while it is being processed?
Once your tax return is being processed, you generally cannot make any changes to it. If you need to make corrections or updates, you will have to file an amended return.

8. What happens if I made a mistake on my tax return that is being processed?
If you made a mistake on your tax return that is being processed, the IRS may reach out to you for clarification or additional documentation. It is important to respond promptly to avoid further delays.

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