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Why is the IRS Not Showing my Refund Status?

When the IRS fails to display your refund status, it is frustrating. However, there are good reasons why they might be slow to show your refund. Visit to learn more.

By: Jamie Eden | Apr 2019

Woman filling out tax paperwork Woman filling out tax paperwork photo by csp_Kurhan

When it comes time to file your taxes each year, many people become anxious and impatient for reasons that aren’t difficult to imagine. Whether you’re waiting for a substantial refund or just worried about missing the deadline, there’s plenty of reason to feel uneasy.

If you’re one of the thousands expecting a refund after filing, and the IRS’s website isn’t displaying your returns in a timely fashion, you’re probably on pins and needles. You’ve probably been searching online or asking friends and family to get possible answers as to why the IRS would be remiss in its duty. Don’t worry — there are several good reasons your due refund is not yet displayed at

Reasons the IRS Might Not Show Your Refund Status

Rule number one is “Don’t Panic.” Chances are, your refund status is simply delayed because of the fact that they have to handle millions of accounts just like yours.

They Serve Over 300 Million People

In most cases, the status of a filer’s refund is not displayed for an average of 72 hours. Even with plenty of automation in place, they still have to verify refunds, which can take time. They don’t want to post a refund amount until they are absolutely certain they aren’t returning more of your tax money than they intend to.

Human Error at the IRS

Occasionally, they will make a mistake. They are human, after all. When this happens, it may take longer for them to decide whether or not your refund will be the amount you believe it should be.

Human Error on Your End

We understand you’re unhappy about not knowing the status of your refund, and that makes it hard to accept that you might be in error. However, like the people at the IRS, you too are human. It could be that you made a mistake on your tax return. If this is the case, the IRS may simply correct your mistake, or they may correspond with you in order to arrive at an amount you and they can agree upon. Either way, this will prolong the amount of time it takes them to post your refund.

The IRS Refund Status Bar

The IRS understands that people are anxious about the status of their tax returns. Many people count on their refund to make ends meet during tax season. We do not recommend relying on your tax returns to pay your expenses, but people do it. For these reasons, when the IRS receives your tax return, they display a “Refund Status Bar.” This is a linear progress indicator similar to a loading bar on a computer.

When you see it, you know your filings have been received and are being processed. This year, the IRS has had some trouble displaying even the status bar in some cases. They put out a statement claiming that the site was overwhelmed with traffic and that this was the reason the status bar failed to load in many cases.

In conclusion, chances are that as long as the IRS doesn’t send you something in the mail that says you owe money, you will get the refund you are expecting. In the future, working with a professional tax service takes the burden off of you and goes a long way to protect you from audits. Better yet, services like Turbo-Tax have their own refund status bars, and they tend to work much better than government ones.


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