You filed your return in a timely manner and were waiting for your refund to be sent within the standard timeline that IRS promises. But alas, it has been much longer than that and you are wondering, “Where is my DAMN refund!” In a lot of recent cases, it appears that the IRS is delaying refund processing and payments by several weeks because they are spending a lot more time validating tax payer identities. But a lot of people are wondering how this works and how they can quickly validate their identities with the IRS to get their refunds as soon as possible. Here’s how.
IRS Identity Validation Process
You have a few options to validate your identity, which you should also see on the WMR tool if you are expecting a refund.
- Letter 5071C is mailed through the USPS to the address provided on the tax return. It asks taxpayers to verify their identities in order for the IRS to complete processing of the returns. The letter will provide two options -idverify.irs.gov site or a toll-free number – to confirm whether or not they filed the return.
- (Fastest way) Go online and use the IRS‘ Identity Verification Service website – idverify.irs.gov . You should only go to this website after receiving Letter 5071C because it will contain a unique case number to expedite the verification process.
- Call the IRS. You can call the IRS as well (see numbers at the end of this post) to check if you refund is held up for identity verification. They will likely direct you to the idverify website or ask you to wait for the 5071C letter
Also beware online scams – The IRS will never request identity verification information via email nor will the IRS call a taxpayer directly prior to sending the 5071C letter. If you get a call from someone who says they are from the IRS, it is likely a scam unless they can provide you with a specific letter 5071C case number (found in the upper corner of the letter)
Per the IRS you will need the following to validate or confirm your identity. This must match what you provided on your most recent tax return:
- Social Security Number or Individual Tax ID Number (ITIN)
- Date of Birth
- Filing Status
- Mailing Address
- Third Party Verification Questions such as prior address, W2 information, mortgage information, etc., that only you should know.
- You must also provide us with a valid email address, which the IRS will confirm and use to notify you if your registration information changes.
Once the identity is verified, the taxpayers can confirm whether or not they filed the return in question. This will resume processing of the tax return and any applicable refunds.
Here is sampling of reader comments who are seeing delays in getting their refunds due to additional identity checks, plus some tips on how to get some insight into where the status of your refund.
- Real-mom – I filed on 2/1, was accepted in 30 minutes, and still stuck on accepted! Has anyone received their refund WITHOUT their status changing? Still sitting at accepted, which seems to be happening a lot. My question is: has anyone actually RECEIVED their refund without having any movement on WMR?
- Natalie – H&R Block sent me an email on Feb. 5th stating the IRS accepted my return. However, when I checked the IRS website, it said it was processing. Today it’s the 12th and it’s still on processing status. I don’t understand why it’s taking so long, it’s never taken this long. Anyone else having this issue?
- So I called the IRS again today, every time I call I get more info. So certain people get selected for manual review, I was one of them. It was processed and on the 27th went into review. They have 45 days to process from that date. But for some reason they don’t need any additional information. Why? If you are reviewing my return then I assume something is wrong, but nothing is wrong? I don’t understand!!!! So mad right now!!
- Mary – I filled the same day and got accepted the same day!!! Im in the same position as you are!!! I been at the 1 bar for many days! People who filed after me, have already got their refund! Very Frustrating
- I called the IRS because i did not receive my refund on 2/10/16 and i had to call and verify my identity. After i called and verified my identity the lady said it could be nine weeks before i receive my refund now and it’s direct deposit
- Alex M – Mine got accepted on 01/22/16 and it has been 20 days. It does not show the bar on where’s my refund nor a date. Just says that it is still being processed and a date will be available soon. I called the IRS and they said that I had to verify my identity and had to call another number and verify some information and was put on hold about 3 times. Then said it had been verified and it would take 9 weeks for me to get my refund. She said it would still be deposited in my bank account at that time. She said it might not take 9 weeks but no less than 2 weeks. I wish I would have known sooner so I could have called and had it sent quicker. She said they pulled random people or it was because they did have to verify your identity
- Dave – filed on 2/2 and was accepted same day. WMR has not moved past received/processing since then. Im only getting 4k back…Should I be concerned? Ive heard of folks that filed around the same date already getting theirs..I was thinking I would already have at least a DDD.
- Lauren Ashley – I just called and spoke with someone who gathered my information, put me on hold for 4 minutes and then came back and told me that “it’s just still processing, that’s the only thing I’m seeing” and to call back in 1.5-2 weeks if I don’t see any change in “Where’s My Refund?” I am so annoyed. I filed on January 19th and the status has never changed from “Processing” but my bars randomly disappeared over a week ago. I am so anxious.
Some comments that provides solutions and tips/tricks to try and get more information on your refund
- Katie – I was finally able to talk to a real person. The number 800-829-0582 ext:652 does work. Takes about 10 minutes to get someone. Looks like I had to verify my identity for no real reason. I was transferred to number 800-830-5084 and was put on hold for 30 minutes. All they did was ask questions from my credit report and 2014/2015 taxes. I was cleared but they said it would take up a “max” of 9 weeks to see my return. I asked how I could check my statues and was told to check WMR but to give it a few days. Has anyone on here already received a refund after having to verify? I’m not in a rush for my money but it sure would be nice.
- Tax Payer Teed – Happened to me & my ex last year. After they drilled him about old cars & previous addresses he took matters into my own hands. He overnighted a copy of his driver’s licenses, original birth certificate, vehicle registration, insurance cards, payroll stubs, our children’s birth certificates & ss cards along with my info just in case. This happened on a Thursday but to our surprise his refund was in the mail box that following Wednesday. Not a bad turn around considering their time frame. I should have followed his lead but i figured whats the use they said that they have cleared up my identity. Yet my check came 6 weeks later. It may or may not make a difference in your situation but its worth a try.
- Samuel – In my case I filed on the 25th and had no progress, so I called yesterday and found out that I did have to verify my identity and would have gone no further until completed. In my case my ID was stolen last year so that might have something to do with it, not sure. I never received any notification that I needed to verify, maybe they don’t send out the letters until the 21 days have passed. I just know from this site and others that many are having to verify and they also did not get any verification. . I just suggest those of you who are waiting for the bar to move from accepted to approved and filed around my time(Jan 25th) to be proactive if you are heeding the refund.
- Jen – I already got my money.. Thank God!! I filed H&R Block online on 1/30.. Got approved on 2/5.. Money was in my bank on 2/10 at 7am.. WMR never moved from approved either. So just be patient guys, IRS has really changed a lot with processing refunds this year.. Millions of people were pulled for review & identity verification this year which will cause a 4-6 week delay on getting your money.. It sucks but that’s what majority of Americans are experiencing this tax year.. It’s just a looonngg waiting game at this point.. Wish you all the best!! God bless!
- Judy – For anyone concerned, I am in Philly and I filed with TT on 1/29/16 and was accepted the same day, I finally received a DD of 1/10/16 on 1/10/16…still no refund. I just got off the phone with the IRS to find out if I possibly had to verify my ID, this is what they told me, If your refund was accepted than everything is okay, its just taking longer on account of a delay due to verification, have patience, you will get it. I was also told you can’t go by what TT is saying and unfortunately they are issues with both the WMR tool and their 800 hotline, so you can’t go by that either, sadly its a waiting at this point. I was also told very clearly that if for any reason you are still at received but believe you should have gotten it by now than most likely there is a problem with them being able to identify you due to a breach that took place in early January and your data was compromised, which means you will have to verify your ID for them to release your funds. You can do this by calling 1-800-830-5084. So basically if you have been accepted everything is fine, you just have to wait but if you’re still at received after some time then that means they’re having a problem identifying you and if that’s the case, unfortunately you will have to wait 6-8 weeks for your refund.I know how frustrating this is for all of you, as I am still waiting as well. This is the first time I was able to get some clear info on what is actually happening, while I feel better knowing that mine has been accepted, I feel horrible for all of those still stuck at received on account of what that means. If you have been accepted, you are all good, they’re just asking that we have patience, it will come. But for those of you at received I suggest you call the number above to verify your identity immediately rather than waiting for the IRS to notify you because who knows how long that would take. I hope this helps clear it up for some of you, good luck!
- saffronsky – HI all, I just got off the phone with a very nice lady at IRS.My status bar has been gone over a week. Filed Jan 31st with TT, accepted Feb 1st. I was very very sweet on the phone and told her it was my birthday (yesterday) and she would make my year if she could help me. She did say that in her system it shows being accepted on Feb 2nd instead of Feb 1st that TT told me. I told a little fib that last night I saw a message to call and that this morning that message was gone so I wanted to call and just check. She asked all the info, names, social, address ect. She put me on hold for about 3 min. Came back and said that my account is credited meaning that it looks like everything has processed and it is just waiting for a DDD. She said there is no offsets or debts that she could see. (which was weird because I am pretty sure my husband owes from last year) I asked if it was possible that I would have my DD tomorrow and she said yes possible but could not confirm. She also said to not go by the status bar going away or being there, it is a computer system and to rest assured my refund has been processed, looks like it has been credited the full amount I had filed and that I should receive refund any day now. I wish I had better news. I have to register my cars by next week and could really use the funds. I hope this helps anyone!
- Rockermomliz- Just talked to my tax guy, whom we’ve been with for 4 years now. Every year we would get our refund in less than 2 weeks max. It usually would just take 9 days (including weekends). We filed on the 23rd so i was expecting a refund by early Feb. The 3rd being the latest. With all the mishaps and misfortunes that have happened this year, along with ‘budget cuts’ and not having enough ‘man power’, I was told that thankfully, our refund was not affected, by the Identity thefts or getting ‘re synced’/stacked and had to wait until they got back to the pile’..however, even though we were not one that was affected, our wait time is longer and I should most definitely see our refund next week. I’m just glad, because while my case isn’t unique (4 kids, 2 w-2’s) you never know. So those that filed around my time frame, and haven’t seen anything yet, know that you are not alone. Obviously its taking longer than usual, and I am one of those that have a savings of the bare minimum right now, and I can really use it, (8 year old might’ve broke his foot last night) but just TRY to be positive. Reach out to people; call and call until you get answers. I was never one to really rely on WMR as every year it wouldn’t really move much, and we would receive our checks DD and it would not mention that the check was sent, much less approved. It’s your money, and you have a right to demand it back; we all worked for it, and deserve to get it without all this trouble, but as it is with life, nothing comes easy, sad but true. Patience is hard to acquire in dire times but, in the end, I pray that it will all work out for you all. I’ve been looking at this ‘chat’ for about 2 weeks and it helped me out and I thank everyone involved. Helps to know your not alone.
Feel free to leave a comment on your experience or if you have any further questions
This article was updated on February 22