Why Is My Taxes Still Saying Processing?

Tax season can be a stressful time for many individuals, especially when you expect a refund and your tax return status remains stuck on “processing.” This delay can leave you wondering why your taxes are taking so long to be processed and what steps you can take to resolve the issue. In this article, we will explore some possible reasons why your taxes are still saying “processing” and provide answers to frequently asked questions related to this topic.

1. High Volume of Returns: The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) processes millions of tax returns each year, leading to a backlog and delays in processing. If you filed your taxes during peak season, it may take longer for your return to be processed.

2. Errors or Incomplete Information: If your tax return contains errors or is missing vital information, the IRS may need additional time to review and process it. Common mistakes include incorrect Social Security numbers, missing signatures, or inconsistent income information.

3. Identity Verification: The IRS has implemented stricter identity verification measures to prevent tax fraud. If your return triggers their security protocols, they may request additional documentation to verify your identity, resulting in a delay in processing your taxes.

4. Undergoing Manual Review: In some cases, your tax return may be selected for a manual review. This can occur if your return raises red flags due to significant deductions, unusually high or low income, or other factors that warrant further scrutiny.

5. Backlog or Technical Issues: Occasionally, the IRS may experience technical difficulties or backlogs, which can cause delays in processing tax returns. These issues are usually resolved, but they can lead to longer processing times.

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6. Amended or Nonstandard Returns: If you filed an amended tax return or have a nonstandard return due to special circumstances, such as claiming the Recovery Rebate Credit or other tax credits, it may take longer for the IRS to process your return.

7. Financial Obligations: If you have outstanding debts, such as unpaid taxes, child support, or student loans, the IRS may hold your refund until these obligations are satisfied. They have the authority to offset your refund against any outstanding debts.

8. COVID-19 Pandemic: The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted IRS operations, leading to delays in processing tax returns. IRS employees working remotely and reduced manpower at processing centers have contributed to the delay.


1. How long does it usually take for the IRS to process tax returns?
The IRS aims to process electronically filed tax returns within 21 days. However, it can take longer if there are issues or delays.

2. Can I check the status of my tax return online?
Yes, you can visit the IRS website and use the “Where’s My Refund?” tool to check the status of your return.

3. What should I do if my tax return status remains “processing” for an extended period?
If it has been more than 21 days and your return hasn’t been processed, you can contact the IRS for assistance. Be prepared to provide your Social Security number, filing status, and refund amount.

4. Will calling the IRS help expedite my return?
Calling the IRS won’t expedite the processing of your return. However, if there is an issue with your return, they may provide guidance on how to resolve it.

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5. Should I refile my tax return if it’s been stuck on “processing” for a long time?
No, you shouldn’t refile your tax return unless the IRS specifically requests it. Double-filing can further complicate the processing of your return.

6. How can I avoid delays in processing my tax return in the future?
To avoid delays, double-check your return for errors, submit all required documentation, and file electronically. E-filing reduces the chances of errors and speeds up processing.

7. Is there a way to expedite my refund if I need the money urgently?
The IRS offers an option for expedited refunds called “Refund Anticipation Loans,” but it is important to consider the associated fees and interest rates before opting for this service.

8. Can I contact my tax preparer for assistance if my return is stuck on “processing”?
Yes, you can reach out to your tax preparer for guidance and support. They may be able to offer insights or contact the IRS on your behalf if necessary.

In conclusion, various factors can contribute to your tax return remaining in the “processing” status. While delays can be frustrating, it is essential to be patient and allow the IRS the necessary time to review and process your return accurately. If your return is still stuck on “processing” after an extended period, consider contacting the IRS for further assistance.

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