Did you receive a message saying “Congratulations! The IRS has accepted your return”? If you’re expecting a refund because you filed your 2022 federal income tax return early, you may have gone onto the site “Where’s my refund” to check the status. But what you found was unexpected and possibly a bit confusing: Your return had been “Accepted” but not “Approved.”
My tax return was accepted. When will it be approved?
A federal return that’s been ‘accepted’ means it has passed an initial screening, which includes some basic checks. Once it has entered this phase, its status will remain the same until it has been “Approved.” This would mean it has been processed and that the IRS has approved the release of your refund.
You might have to wait up to 21 days
As the saying goes, “patience is a virtue”. And that’s what you’ll need since it usually takes 21 days between the time your return has been “Accepted” and when it’s “Approved,” Once your refund is good to go, the site Where’s My Refund will show you the exact date when it will be issued.
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Should you call the IRS?
If you have questions about your refund, the IRS advises you not to call them. This will do nothing to speed up your refund and probably cause you angst if you can’t get through. The IRS processes about 140 million tax returns each year and the people who answer their telephones have nothing to do with processing returns. If you’re concerned about the status of your return, your best option is to check either “Where’s My Return” or “IRS2Go”.
Did you use your W-2 as a piggy bank?
When people expect big, fat, juicy refunds it’s usually because they’ve listed fewer dependents on their W-2s than they really have. For example, the husband of a family of four might claim just two dependents to assure that he gets a good-sized refund—or that he doesn’t owe money. However, many financial experts say this isn’t a good idea. Essentially, you’re lending the federal government money instead of pocketing the interest for yourself.
Since Social Security and Medicare taxes went back up to 6.2% this year, you may have seen your paycheck shrink a bit. You could offset this reduction by changing your withholding information to claim your actual number of dependents. You might not get a nice, big refund the following year, but you would have more money to spend this year. This is an effective strategy if you’re struggling with your family finances. Plus, you would keep the interest for yourself instead of lending interest-free money to the federal government.
What to do with that refund?
If you receive a big refund, you may be tempted to run out and splurge. Or you could deposit it into a savings account or invest it in a certificate of deposit. However, a better way to use it might be to pay off your debts. If you have credit card debt, the best thing you can do is pay off debt. For example, if you have $3,000 in debt with a 20% interest rate, you’re probably paying around $152 a month. If you were to use your refund to pay it off, that’s the equivalent of giving yourself a $152 a month raise. So think carefully before you spend your return.