Why Are My Income Taxes Pending?

Although the IRS e-file process is much faster than paper filing, it is not instantaneous. This means that e-file does not operate in real time. There is a lag between the action you take on your online tax preparation software and what the IRS sees on its end. Once you fully understand the delay, then you can work around it. Why Are My Income Taxes Pending?

  1. Verification

    • One of the main reasons that e-filing is so efficient is because tax returns are verified before they are submitted to the IRS. If a Social Security number or date of birth is incorrect, the IRS will reject the return and send you an e-mail detailing the reason for the rejection. But this process takes time. If you attempt to check on the processing of your tax return while it is being verified, your e-file software will advise you that your return is pending, while the IRS will have no record of your return.


    • The IRS advises that you allow 72 hours between the time you submit your return and when you call and check on it. This is because it takes up to 72 hours for a return to be either rejected or accepted. In the interim, your return is labeled as “pending.” For paper returns, the IRS suggests allowing at least four weeks before calling to check on the status of your return, because the entire processing timeframe is six to eight weeks.

    Helpful Hints

    • If it has been more than 72 hours and you have not received a rejection or acceptance message from your online tax preparation provider, check your spam box to make sure your e-mail wasn’t inadvertently placed there. Next, e-mail or call your online tax software provider to determine if there’s a problem. If your software company cannot provide you with any answers, call the IRS directly at 800-829-1040.


    1. The IRS began processing tax returns late for the 2014 tax filing season because of legislation passed by Congress. If your return was affected by these changes in tax law, your return didn’t begin processing until the middle of February 2015. Although most returns were processed in a timely manner, those affected by the Unemployment Insurance and Reauthorization Act of 2010 were delayed. Some examples of those categories of taxpayers who were affected include those who claimed the higher education tuition and fees deduction as well as those claiming the educator expense deduction.


 This is the answer to “Why Are My Income Taxes Pending?”