There are several reasons why your refund may not match the Where's My Refund? tool.
- The first reason would be that the refund is subject to an offset. The IRS Where's my Refund tool may show that your federal tax refund was offset for a past due obligation. However, the listed balance of your refund may not take into account all offsets your tax return has accrued. If this is the case, the refund you received may be lower than the balance of your refund shown through the IRS "Where's my Refund" tool
- The most common reason for the IRS to adjust a refund during the 2020 tax season is the Recovery Rebate Credit. The Recovery Rebate Worksheet is reviewed in detail in this article. However, the simple reason for the adjustment is generally an incorrect amount was entered for one of the two stimulus payments received. The third stimulus payment will be requested on the 2021 return and is not reported on the 2020 return. You can check the amounts the IRS has on record for your stimulus payments on their website.
- Did you use the File & Go option? When you elect to have the tax program fees deducted from your refund, the refund is sent in its full amount to the third-party bank. The third-party bank then deducts the program fees and their convenience fee before depositing the remaining refund into your bank account.
- Another common reason for a change in your refund amount at this time is the Unemployment Exclusion. However, this change generally comes in the form of an additional refund amount. You should receive your normal refund amount. Then, after the IRS reviews the account, they will send a another refund amount to you- usually using the same deposit information. The IRS is reviewing these cases throughout the summer and no timeline has been provided.
- Along the same lines as the Recovery Rebate Credit and the Unemployment Exclusion is the Excess Advance Premium Tax Credit Repayment. The American Rescue Plan removed the requirement to repay the Excess Premium Tax Credit. Since the American Rescue Plan was started after some individuals filed, the IRS will automatically adjust the return.
Please Note: If your return contains more than one of the American Rescue Plan adjustments (Recovery Rebate Credit, Unemployment Exclusion, or Excess Advance Premium Tax Credit Repayment), the IRS will adjust the return in steps. First, the return will be adjusted for the Recovery Rebate Credit, then the Unemployment Exclusion and finally the Excess Premium Tax Credit Repayment. If your return is adjusted for the Recovery Rebate Credit and you owe, you will need to pay the amount due before the IRS will adjust the return for the Unemployment Exclusion.
What happens if my refund is reduced?
If your refund is reduced due to an offset, you will receive a letter from the Treasury Offset Department of the Bureau of Fiscal Services detailing the reason for your offset. You may additionally contact the Bureau of Fiscal Services by calling 800-304-3107 if you have questions regarding your offset.
If the refund was adjusted for any other reason, you will still receive a notice. Page 1 of the notice generally indicates the reason for the adjustment. We have some helpful articles to assist you with determining the reason for the adjustment.
What if the IRS adjusts my return for the RRC and it is incorrect?
If you did not receive the stimulus payment as the IRS has suggested, you will disagree with the notice (when you get it) so the IRS can track the stimulus payment to determine where it was sent. The notice indicates you should call them at 800-829-0922 to review the account with a representative. Have a copy of your tax return available when you call.