How Long Does It Take To Get Your Tax Refund (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 20 Days

Sometimes, an individual may end up paying more income tax than they are liable to pay. In such situations, the government refunds any excess amount paid. This money received from the federal government is called an income tax refund. 

One may obtain the tax refund in around 20 days, but the actual duration changes from country to country. 

How Long Does It Take To Get Your Tax Refund?

The federal government of a country determines how long it takes to receive an income tax refund. In India, one can receive the tax refund 20 to 45 days after filing and verification the Income Tax Returns. If it takes longer, one should follow up with the Centralised Processing Centre (CPC).

In the United States of America, the IRS refunds 9 out of 10 taxpayers in less than three weeks. Unfortunately, a 21-day delivery is not guaranteed. Many factors, especially the mode of delivery, impact how long it takes to receive a tax refund. A tax refund obtained via E-file with direct deposit takes one to three weeks. It takes three weeks to receive refunds via a paper file with direct deposit. One can receive a tax refund check in the mail in 6 to 8 weeks, either through an E-file or a paper file. 

Meanwhile, in Australia, most tax refunds are logged online and processed within two weeks. However, if paper tax returns are processed manually, one can expect the refund in 10 weeks. 

Similarly, in Canada, one can obtain tax refunds in about two weeks if one files the returns online using NetFile, EFile, or Tekefile. Paper tax returns filed before April 15, it may take up to 4 weeks to process. On the other hand, returns filed after April 15 take about six weeks. 

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In the United Kingdom, one will obtain a tax refund in eight to 12 weeks. However, this number may vary. The actual duration changes depending on the HMRC’s current processing times. To obtain the refund faster, one must ensure not to submit the tax rebate application during the HMRC’s busiest periods, at the end of January and July. 

In summary,

CountryTime Taken To Obtain A Tax Refund
India20 to 45 days
The United States of America
Direct deposit1 to 3 weeks
Refund via mail6 to 8 weeks
Australia
Online processing2 weeks
Manual processing10 weeks
Canada2 to 6 weeks
United Kingdom8 to 12 weeks

Why Does It Take So Long To Get Your Tax Refund?

A tax refund is received only after processing and verification of the income tax returns. As thousands of people file their taxes simultaneously, this process takes some time. However, certain factors may prolong the time taken to receive the tax refund. 

There may be a delay in processing tax refunds if the tax department raises any clarification or query, which occurs when the returns filed are incomplete or due to a mismatch in the tax returns filed. It may also occur in case of identity theft or fraud. 

Furthermore, obtaining tax refunds may take time if the tax department verifies the details entered by contacting one’s employer, financial institutions, or health insurers. The tax department may also wish to cross-check information with other government agencies. 

Additionally, more time is required to process the refund due to simple mistakes like incorrect bank details in the ITR form. If one amends the form before processing the original tax return or files returns for multiple years simultaneously, there might be a delay in obtaining the refunds. 

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Lastly, the presence of any previous unresolved tax debt may delay the processing of tax refunds. 

Conclusion

One can obtain a tax refund in about 20 days in most countries. However, in certain situations, one may experience some delays. The income tax department may themselves delay the application, but in most cases, it is due to an individual error that refunds are processed late. Therefore, it is essential to fill the tax return forms correctly and send them each year to prevent delays in refund processing.

References

  1. https://en.cnki.com.cn/Article_en/CJFDTotal-ZSHK200704005.htm
  2. https://www.aeaweb.org/aej-policy/accepted_single.php?id=695&jrnl=pol
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