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The IRS Just Cautioned Taxpayers Against Doing This

The agency is advising against making this major mistake with your tax refund.

Doing your taxes is never not stressful. But the looming April 18 filing deadline is adding fuel to the fire for taxpayers who have yet to send the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) their 2021 returns. This added pressure could result in you making a number of common mistakes when filing your return, from choosing the wrong filing status to submitting incorrect account numbers to even misspelling your own name. Now, the IRS is cautioning taxpayers against a different kind of error they could end up making. Read on to find out what the agency said in its latest warning.

RELATED: The IRS Now Won't Let You Do This Until After April 18.

The IRS says you shouldn't rely on getting your refund by a certain date.

A United States treasury check with a tax refund

According to the IRS, most taxpayers should get their refund issued to them within 21 days of them filing their tax return. But in a March 23 announcement, the agency warned people not to become too dependent on this timeline, because there is a chance your refund could take longer than this to get to you.

"Many different factors can affect the timing of a refund after the IRS receives a return," the agency explained. "The IRS cautions taxpayers not to rely on receiving a refund by a certain date, especially when making major purchases or paying bills."

Your refund can be delayed if the IRS needs more time to review your return.

Shot of a young woman sitting with her laptop and paperwork at home

The IRS might choose to take a closer look at your tax return for a number of reasons, and this additional review could be one of the reasons why your refund is taking longer. According to the tax agency, "a manual review may be necessary when a return has errors, is incomplete or is affected by identity theft or fraud."

If the IRS is still reviewing your return or correcting any errors, the agency says, "we will contact you by mail when (or if) we need more information to process your return." But none of the agency's representatives or online tools will be able to tell you the exact date you'll receive your refund if your return is still being processed, the IRS added.

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Your refund might also be delayed if you claimed certain credits.

A young man and woman sit on the couch while going over forms to file taxes

Your refund could be MIA because your return requires a longer processing time due to certain claimed credits. The IRS said that if you've claimed the Child Tax Credit or Recovery Rebate Credit, your return might need a correction to the amount you've claimed, which would lengthen the processing time. And returns with claims filed for an Earned Income Tax Credit or an Additional Child Tax Credit might just take longer to process as well, especially if you're using your 2019 income.

"It's taking us more than 21 days (and up to 90 to 120 days) to issue refunds for tax returns with the Recovery Rebate Credit, Earned Income Tax Credit and Additional Child Tax Credit," the agency warned. According to the IRS, filing Form 8730—which is the Injured Spouse Allocation—could also delay your refund because it can "take up to to 14 weeks to process," the agency noted.

You could have to wait longer depending on how you filed as well.

Man Filling In The Tax Form

Finally, the way that you filed your 2021 tax return might also make all the difference as to when you receive your refund. "The fastest way to get a tax refund is by filing electronically and choosing direct deposit," the IRS explained. That means paper filers will likely have to wait longer.

Once you've filed your return, you can use the online Where's My Refund? tool from the IRS to check where you are in the refund process. This tool will tell you if your return is still being reviewed or give you a "personalized date" when you can expect to receive your refund after the IRS finishes processing your return and approves your refund.

According to the IRS, you can start checking your Where's My Refund? status 24 hours after they've received your electronically filed tax return or four weeks after you've mailed a paper tax return. And when it comes to getting your refund, the agency warned taxpayers that they should also "remember to take into consideration the time it takes for a financial institution to post the refund to an account."

RELATED: The IRS Warns You Could Get Fined for Forgetting This on Your Taxes.

Kali Coleman
Kali Coleman is a Senior Editor at Best Life. Her primary focus is covering news, where she often keeps readers informed on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and up-to-date on the latest retail closures. Read more
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