Pending IRS refund and don't know why
August 14, 2021 1:31 PM   Subscribe

When I checked my online bank account this morning, it showed a pending refund from the IRS for $2,2XX. We received our federal refund back in March so I don't know what this could be. Any ideas? Checking the IRS website didn't provide any info.
posted by perhapses to Work & Money (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I don't know why that would be, and most of us would just be speculating. However, folks have often said that the IRS are quite helpful on the phone. You can call 800-829-1040 about a refund. Sorry it won't get you an answer before Monday, likely, though.
posted by ldthomps at 1:38 PM on August 14, 2021

Best answer: Did you receive any unemployment benefits in 2020? Congress retroactively made those tax-free (for 2020), and the IRS has been sending out automatic refunds.
posted by kickingtheground at 1:41 PM on August 14, 2021 [9 favorites]

Do you have kids? Did you receive any unemployment in the last year? Both of these things could trigger an additional refund. The first because of the advance child tax credit. The second for people who overpaid taxes on unemployment.
posted by scantee at 1:42 PM on August 14, 2021

It would probably be wise to call the IRS directly to confirm, but - did you claim any unemployment insurance as part of your income last year? I think that there were some Biden-imposed changes in how much federal withholding should have been deducted from unemployment insurance, and while they came before the tax deadline they still came after some people had already filed their taxes, so some people (raises hand) got a little extra later to account for that change.

But it may also be worth a call to the IRS to make sure it wasn't a clerical error.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:42 PM on August 14, 2021

My gf who neither took UI or has any kids got an unexpected refund last week. Has no idea why. Decided to thank her lucky stars and keep it. YMMV.
posted by AugustWest at 1:48 PM on August 14, 2021

However, folks have often said that the IRS are quite helpful on the phone.

I had to call the IRS just this Friday because of a letter from them that didn't make any sense. It required waiting a fairly long time on hold, but when I finally talked to a person they were great and took the time to figure everything out. I agree with the advice above to give them a call and see if they can clarify what is going on.
posted by Dip Flash at 2:02 PM on August 14, 2021

Best answer: We got this too, and it was extra confusing because we got the deposit into our account about two full weeks before we got the letter explaining why. For us it was because of unemployment becoming retroactively untaxed.
posted by BlahLaLa at 3:04 PM on August 14, 2021 [2 favorites]

If you do decide to contact the IRS by phone, we found this article from LifeHacker to be an excellent guide on how to do it. We used it when our refund was delayed back in April, and spent less than 45 minutes on the phone between waiting and actually talking to an agent who gave us all the information we needed.
posted by lhauser at 5:55 PM on August 14, 2021

It looks like perhapses has got the answer they need, but FYI I called the IRS about 5 times last week and once just now, following all the same menu options given in the LifeHacker article, and each time I get "due to extremely high call volume we can't take your call...try again tomorrow". I found some news stories saying as of July there were about 15 million unprocessed tax returns, and my understanding is that they are just totally overwhelmed. My approach for now is to be patient.
posted by polecat at 1:44 PM on August 16, 2021

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