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  5. Tax Topic 152: Will I Still Get My Tax Refund?

Tax Topic 152: Will I Still Get My Tax Refund?

Updated for Tax Year 2020 / September 19, 2021 04:55 PM


Tax topics are a system the IRS uses to organize tax returns and share information with taxpayers. Here's what it means if you receive message about Tax Topic 152.

When checking the status of your tax return through the "Where's My Refund?" tool on the IRS website, you may see a message that says "Refer to Tax Topic 152." In this case, you'll want to know why you're seeing this code and what you should do about it.

Let's gather an understanding of what this topic is and what it means for your tax refund.

What is Tax Topic 152?

Topic 152 is a generic reference code that some taxpayers may see when accessing the IRS refund status tool. Unlike other codes that a taxpayer might encounter, Tax Topic 152 doesn't require any additional steps from the taxpayer.

According to the IRS, 9 out of 10 tax refunds are processed in their normal time frame of fewer than 21 days. But if you come across a reference to Tax Topic 152, your return may require further review and could take longer than the typical 21 days.

Keep in mind this tax topic doesn't mean you made a mistake or did anything wrong when filing. It simply means your return is being processed and has yet to be approved or rejected.

Why might my tax return take longer to process?

There are several reasons why your tax return may take a little longer to process and lead to you being referred to Tax Topic 152. The following situations are among those reasons:

  • Making an Injured Spouse claim
  • Application for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) attached
  • Refunds from amended returns (refund usually received within 16 weeks of filing)
  • Requesting a refund of tax withheld on Form 1042-S by filing a Form 1040-NR (refunds are usually received within six months of filing)

How can I ensure there aren't any delays?

Before you sit down to fill out your tax return, make sure you have all of the necessary information at hand. This might include:

  • Income-related forms you received, such as W-2s or any 1099s
  • Any necessary forms for reporting your health insurance coverage, such as a  Form 1095
  • Your previous year’s tax return and your taxpayer identification number
  • Personal identification information such as full names, Social Security numbers, and birthdates for yourself, your spouse, and any dependents
  • Your Identity Protection PIN if you were issued one by the IRS

TurboTax offers a complete checklist with all of the information you’ll need to report on your taxes. Beyond the basics, this list also includes information on non-work-related income, such as dividends, and information for reporting credits and deductions, such as childcare costs or the charitable contributions you made during that tax year.

It’s important that you don’t guess or estimate when filling in any of these amounts. Keeping careful financial records will help you report accurately and avoid errors or delays.

It's also critical that you double-check all of the information on your return to ensure it is correct and complete. Turbo Tax helps walk you through these steps when filing your return. You can also use e-file and direct deposit to ensure that you'll receive your refund as quickly as possible.

What is Tax Topic 303?

Tax Topic 303 is another reference code you may see when tracking your refund. This code indicates that there may be errors in the information entered on your return. When using TurboTax to file your taxes, we help detect common problems such as these so you can avoid errors that make it take longer to receive your refund. Common errors that trigger the Tax Topic 303 message and further IRS review of your return include:

  • Incorrect or illegible name, ITIN, address, or ZIP code
  • Incorrect filing status or dependent information
  • Missing names or ITINs for those listed on the return
  • Information entered on the wrong lines or missing schedules (attachments)
  • Incorrect calculations for deductions or credits
  • Incorrect tax tables used for figuring income tax
  • Missing signature or date
  • Missing or incorrect Identity Protection PIN (IP PIN)
  • Incorrect banking or routing number given for direct deposit refunds

The bottom line is that if you receive a message indicating you should reference Tax Topic 152, there is no need to panic. Your refund will likely continue to process, but it may take a little longer than expected.

Remember, with TurboTax, we'll ask you simple questions about your life and help you fill out all the right tax forms. Whether you have a simple or complex tax situation, we've got you covered. Feel confident doing your own taxes.

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