Ask the CPA

‘Where’s my refund?’

Christopher Hughes

Welcome back – Tax Day has come and gone.

The Coin Toss:

My peonies were so fat with blooms that they were dragging the ground. In true Ozark Engineering spirit, I ham & egged a support with scrap wood, rope, bungee cords, and a metal shooting target. This week’s additions are a clematis, a hydrangea, sweet potato vines, and thanks to a dear friend from high school, strawberries, Jerusalem artichokes, and basil. I must not have completely botched putting the roses in – we have new growth on all the canes. 

Yessir, Jack and I are easy to entertain around here. Speaking of Jack The Heeler, he had surgery at the vet this week. You know, the one that makes all males squirm. He is doing fine. Quick story – when I picked him up, we got the aftercare instructions. One was to keep the Cone Head thing on for five to seven days. Another was to keep him quiet and restrict activity for 10 to 14 days. After I composed myself, all I could muster was, “We are discussing my dog Jack, right?” The cone lasted three hours. Two days later, he was at full speed catching the Frisbee.

Short Yardage:

Speaking of Tax Day, here are some common questions I get asked after the due date:

Q: “Where’s My Refund?”

CH: Here is a typical timeline assuming you e-filed and all your data is correct –

  • Day 1: E-filed taxes
  • 24 – 48 hours: Return received by the IRS
  • 2 days: Refund approved by the IRS
  • 19 days: Refund sent or direct deposited

Q: “Why is my refund taking longer than 21 days?”

CH: Many reasons. These are some common things than can delay your refund:

  • Earned Income or Additional Child Tax Credits. If you filed in February or earlier, the 2017 PATH Act requires processing to be delayed. I do not know why.
  • Form 8379 (Injured Spouse Allocation) – this form has an unfortunate name. It is injured as in financially injured by your spouse. Federal debts in default, that sort of thing. This form can take 11 – 14 weeks to process.
  • Form 1040-X Amended Return. This form can take 12 – 16 weeks to process.
  • Refund offset – If the IRS discovers you have delinquent debts, they are legally required to deduct them from your refund.
  • Missing or incorrect information on your return. A common error is both you and a former spouse claim the same child as a dependent.
  • The IRS has randomly chosen your return for review.
  • The IRS suspects identify theft or fraud.

Hail Mary TD:

The Chief’s schedule is out. Football season will be here before you know it. One large bonus of coming back home is the opportunity to go see my alma mater Cardinals play. That will be fun. Please say hello. For the record, I am terrible with names, always have been. But as Groucho Marx said, “I never forget a face. But in your case…” I will let someone else finish that sentence.

Thanks for reading. Please address any questions to

Go Chiefs,

Christopher Hughes, CPA


This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice.

Christopher Hughes, CPA

Chris Hughes, a proud Webb City High School grad, is back home after 30 years in business in the Dallas, Texas, area. He invites Sentinel readers to send any questions about income taxes, keeping the books, the IRS, or how ’bout them Chiefs and Cardinals. Questions should not include personal financial information. Send questions to

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