Why Is My Tax Refund More Than What I Filed


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Common Refund Discrepancy Causes

The Why: How long will you have to wait for a tax refund?

Most likely it is an arithmetic error, says Scharin. In these cases, the IRS simply corrects your calculations and sends you the proper refund amount.

Even tax software doesnt make you immune to addition and subtraction issues.

Scharin recalls one individual who did his taxes on a computer and forgot to press recompute. So even though he entered in everything correctly, he didnt finish the process.

You also might have claimed something that, based on your income, youre not entitled to, says Scharin. Income phaseouts, based on your adjusted gross income, affect several credits, he says.

But it just as easily could be an IRS error.

You may have made estimated tax payments, and one was not credited properly, says Scharin. From your records, you overpaid or paid properly, but the IRS doesnt think so. So send them a copy of the canceled check. If you paid your estimated taxes electronically, find that payment receipt and share it with Uncle Sam.

Estimated tax payments are a common culprit in divergent refund amounts. The amount of tax on the return is calculated correctly, but the filer and IRS come up with a difference on the amount of tax paid.

Other numbers that cause problems are those 9 Social Security digits. When any of those are wrong , problems with your tax return and refund appear.

Refund issues also crop up when names of dependents dont match Social Security numbers. Husbands and wives have different names, as do their children.

I Still Dont Have My Refund What Should I Do Next

If you have waited the maximum number of weeks it should take to process a refund, we encourage you to check the status of your return or refund online one more time before contacting the Department.

Please note that our tax examiners do not have information about the status of your refund beyond what is available to you from our website. Although the Department is always available to answer your questions and concerns, calling us will not speed up the process. If you would still like to contact the Department, you may reach us at:

Phone: 828-2865 or .

Our staff is working hard to process your return. Our precautions may increase processing time, and we would like to ask for your patience as we strive to provide the protection you have come to expect and deserve.

We appreciate your patience and welcome your feedback to help us continue to improve our services.

Why Did The Irs Change My Refund Amount

The IRS will change your routinely refund for many reasons, for example to correct a math error, to pay an existing tax debt or to pay a non-tax debt. If you make a math mistake on your return and the IRS catches it, you are mailed a letter advising you of the change, and its not considered a big deal.

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Withholding Can Make Your Refund Bigger Or Smaller

Even if your refund was correct this year, theres another way you can make sure you get more money next spring. Your employer is required to withhold a portion of your paycheck each month and pay federal, state and city taxes on your behalf through a process called withholding.

The good news is you can tell your employer how much youd like withheld using the IRSs Form W-4. The more money your employer withholds from your paycheck, the smaller your tax bill when you file in the spring. If you end up withholding more than you owe, youll get a refund from the IRS. Thats good if you want a big refund but keep in mind that overwithholding means that you are essentially giving the government an interest-free loan with money that you could otherwise save, spend or invest throughout the year.

Asking your employer to withhold less will mean you owe more income tax and reduce the size of your refund. The tradeoff? Your checks will be bigger each payday, and youll have more cash on hand.

The IRS has a Tax Withholding Estimator tool you can use to determine the amount of withholding that makes sense for you.

Will Calling You Help Me Get My Refund Any Faster Or Give Me More Information

Why Does My Refund Say Still Being Processed After 21 Days

IRS representatives can research the status of your return only if:

  • It’s been more than 21 days since you received your e-file acceptance notification,
  • It’s been more than 6 months since you mailed your paper return, or
  • The Where’s My Refund? tool says we can provide more information to you over the phone.

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What Is An Erroneous Refund

An erroneous refund is defined as the receipt of any money from the Service to which the recipient is not entitled. This definition includes all erroneous refunds regardless of taxpayer intent or whether the error that caused the erroneous refund was made by the IRS, the taxpayer, or a third party.

What If I’m Looking For Return Info From A Previous Year

The Where’s My Refund tool lists the federal refund information the IRS has from the past two years. If you’re looking for return details from previous years, you’ll need to check your IRS online account.

From there, you’ll be able to see the total amount you owe, your payment history, key information about your most recent tax return, notices you’ve received from the IRS and your address on file.

Read Also: When Is An Estate Tax Return Required

Contact The Irs And Research Your Irs Account

After you understand more about why the IRS delayed your tax refund, and how to respond to the IRS, do so right away to avoid further problems.

Your H& R Block tax professional can also help you investigate the cause of a refund delay and communicate with the IRS for you. Learn more about H& R Blocks Tax Audit & Tax Notice Services.

Related Tax Terms

Related IRS Notices

Why Did The United States Treasury Send Me A Check

Your Tax Refund May Be Smaller Than Expected This year. âBettyâ? Shows Us Why

Some super small checks averaging $18 a pop began flooding mailboxes in the past week as the U.S. Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service sent interest payments to cover delays in federal income tax refunds for some 2019 returns. … Most interest payments will be issued separately from the tax refunds themselves.

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Im A Nonresident Alien I Dont Have To Pay Us Federal Income Tax How Do I Claim A Refund For Federal Taxes Withheld On Income From A Us Source When Can I Expect To Receive My Refund

To claim a refund of federal taxes withheld on income from a U.S. source, a nonresident alien must report the appropriate income and withholding amounts on Form 1040-NR, U.S. Nonresident Alien Income Tax ReturnPDF. You must include the documents substantiating any income and withholding amounts when you file your Form 1040NR. We need more than 21 days to process a 1040NR return. Please allow up to 6 months from the date you filed the 1040NR for your refund.

Worries Build Among Families And Friends Who Filed Paper Returns

The anxiety has been huge the last few months for those who filed paper returns in 2022.

JoAnn Marino, of Washington Township, began worrying when a few family members called her saying they did not get their federal income tax refunds yet they’re OK with the State of Michigan when she filed paper returns for them back in early April.

A nephew is getting married in November and fears that he won’t get an estimated refund of around $3,600 in time to cover some of those big wedding bills.

His sister is expecting a tax refund of around $1,000 and could use the extra cash now to cover some down payments for a wedding next year.

She retired during the pandemic from her job in financial services and figures she can take up to 12 hours or so early in the year to prepare tax returns for her family, including her mother. Most of them have pretty basic returns she uses a CPA for her own return.

“They’re young, single,” she said of some family members. “My nephew doesn’t even own a home.”

“We’ve always filed some of them by paper and it’s never been an issue,” she said. “All of the e-filed returns have been processed.”

The IRS doesn’t post information for paper returns at “Where’s My Refund?” until those returns are processed. “Wheres My Refund?” does not explain any status delays, reasons for delays, where returns stand in the processing pipeline, or what action taxpayers need to take, according to the National Taxpayer Advocate’s report.

Also Check: When Can You File Your Taxes

Irs Adjusted The Child Tax Credit On Your Return

It is possible that your refund is less than initially expected if different information was entered for your advanced child tax credit payments than what was actually issued by the IRS. The IRS sent Letter 6419 detailing the total amount of 2021 advance payments you received and the number of qualifying children used to calculate those advance payments. If you didnt enter an amount or entered an amount different than what the IRS has on file for you for the advance Child Tax Credit payments, this could cause an adjustment to your refund amount and cause delays.

Note for married filers, both spouses should each receive their own IRS letter 6419. It is important that information from both letters is added together on your tax return to avoid an adjustment to your return and avoid delays.

Unclaimed Federal Tax Refunds

How to track your income tax refund status filed in FY 2017

If you are eligible for a federal tax refund and dont file a return, then your refund will go unclaimed. Even if you aren’t required to file a return, it might benefit you to file if:

  • Federal taxes were withheld from your pay


You may not have filed a tax return because your wages were below the filing requirement. But you can still file a return within three years of the filing deadline to get your refund.

Recommended Reading: Free Irs Approved Tax Preparation Courses

How To Get Your Tax Refund Faster

If you’ve already filed your tax return, you won’t be able to speed up the refund process by checking your refund status or calling the IRS. The IRS will contact you if they need additional information to process your return.

If you haven’t filed yet, the IRS offers the following tips to speed up your refund:

How Do I Track My Tax Refund

If youre wondering where your refund is, there are a few ways you can check its status.

The IRS online tools. The fastest and easiest way to track your federal tax refund is to use the IRS Wheres My Refund tool or the IRS2Go mobile app, according to the IRS.5 These tools will tell you when your return is received, approved, and when your tax refund is sent. To use either of the IRS tracking tools, youll need your Social Security number, filing status, and exact refund amount. If you e-filed, you can start checking your status with these tools 24 hours after filing. But itll take about four weeks before you can check the status of a mailed return.

Through your e-filing service. If you e-filed your return, the tax preparation website you used will likely alert you via email or status update when your return is received, approved, and your tax refund is sent.

You can call the IRS, but the government notes that live phone assistance is extremely limited and wait times can be long. And IRS representatives can only research the status of your refund if its been 21 days or more since you filed electronically or more than six weeks since you mailed your paper return. If you choose to call the IRS, you should be ready to provide personal information like your Social Security number, birth date, and filing status.

If youre expecting an amended tax return, you can use the IRS Wheres My Amended Return? tool.6

Read Also: What State Has The Highest Property Tax

Why Do I See Irs Treas 310 In My Bank Statement

If you receive your tax refund by direct deposit, you may see IRS TREAS 310 listed in the transaction. The 310 code simply identifies the transaction as a refund from a filed tax return in the form of electronic payment. You may also see TAX REF in the description field for a refund.

If you see a 449 instead of 310, it means your refund has been offset for delinquent debt.

Why Was My Refund Mailed Instead Of Being Deposited In My Bank Account

When Will I Get My Refund?

There are a couple of reasons that your refund would be mailed to you. Your money can only be electronically deposited into a bank account with your name, your spouse’s name or a joint account. If your bank rejected the deposit for some reason, it may be the next best way to get your refund.

In addition, the IRS can only direct deposit up to three refunds to one account, so if you are getting multiple refund checks they will have to be mailed. If you’re receiving a refund check in the mail, learn how to track it from the IRS to your mailbox.

It’s important to note that direct deposit isn’t always automatic for refunds. To be certain, sign in to your IRS account to check that the agency has your correct banking information.

Also Check: Are Property Taxes Paid In Arrears

Charitable Deduction For 2022 Is ‘not As Robust’ As 2021

Additionally, it will be more difficult to claim a deduction for charitable gifts on your 2022 return, the IRS said.

The reason: “Deductions for charitable donations in 2022 are not as robust as 2021,” said certified financial planner Marguerita Cheng, CEO of Blue Ocean Global Wealth in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Congress gave charities a boost in 2020 by offering a tax incentive for cash gifts, and lawmakers extended the tax break for 2021.

With a higher standard deduction since 2018, it’s become more difficult to itemize deductions, including the tax break for charitable gifts. Filers choose either the standard deduction or itemized deductions, whichever is greater.

But for 2021, you could claim up to $300 for cash donations or $600 for married couples filing together, regardless of whether you itemize.

The tax break was not extended for 2022, however, meaning there’s no longer a benefit for charitable gifts if you take the standard deduction, the IRS said.

Adjustment For Federal Taxes Owed For A Previous Year

Similar to reductions caused by the Treasury Offset Program, it is possible that your tax refund was reduced or eliminated based on federal taxes owed for a previous year.

If you owe taxes to the IRS from a previous tax year, those taxes will be reduced from any eligible tax refund for the current year. The IRS will actually take payments for owed federal taxes from a previous year before any other federal or state agency under the Treasury Offset Program.

If your refund is less than expected you can check IRS Wheres My Refund, which will give you the most up to date information about your refund. The IRS will also send you a notice CP12 outlining why your refund was adjusted.

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Why Is My Tax Refund More Than What I Filed

Asked by: Prof. Bonnie Gutkowski

Why is my refund different than the amount on the tax return I filed? All or part of your refund may have been used to pay off past-due federal tax, state income tax, state unemployment compensation debts, child support, spousal support, or other federal nontax debts, such as student loans.

Where’s My Tax Refund When To Expect Your Money And How Much Extra The Irs Owes You

Why Is My Irs Refund Taking More Than 21 Days

If you filed your tax return on time and still haven’t gotten your refund, at least it’s earning interest.

Katie Teague


Katie is a writer covering all things how-to at CNET, with a focus on Social Security and notable events. When she’s not writing, she enjoys playing in golf scrambles, practicing yoga and spending time on the lake.

Dan Avery


Dan is a writer on CNET’s How-To team. His byline has appeared in Newsweek, NBC News, The New York Times, Architectural Digest, The Daily Mail and elsewhere. He is a crossword junkie and is interested in the intersection of tech and marginalized communities.

Peter Butler


Peter is a writer and editor for the CNET How-To team. He has been covering technology, software, finance, sports and video games since working for @Home Network and Excite in the 1990s. Peter managed reviews and listings for Download.com during the 2000s, and is passionate about software and no-nonsense advice for creators, consumers and investors.

If you filed your tax returnelectronically and were due a refund, you probably already received it. The IRS reported that it’s processed 97% of the more than 145 million returns it received this year and issued a few more than 96 million refunds.

As a result, delays in completing paper returns have been running from six months up to one year.

Read Also: Tax Deductions For Home Office

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