Tax Refund Not Received for the US Tax Return Filed [1040/1040NR] – Filing IRS Form 3911 May help



Dear TAH/USTAX4EXPATS Clients,

We all know the 2020 and 2021 year has been very unprecedented with a lot of challenges to financial sectors, business, health sectors, service industries which includes the revenue departments like Internal Revenue Service which had faced significant pressure due to the COVID19 shutdown, lower staff capacity, etc. According to the CNBC Sources article, there are still about 8 million individual 1040/1040NR personal tax returns and other transactions that are still under the processing stage. Some of our clients who filed 1040NR for FIRPTA Tax reclaim, 1042S claim, 1099R claims, and Recovery rebate have still not received the refund.

Why there are still delays with the IRS refund Processing Time?

According to a National Taxpayer Advocate review of the 2021 filing season to Congress. The IRS was initially shut down during the peak tax filing season due to Covid restriction capacity in the year 2020 which initially added pressure adding up to further delays of a pile of backlog work created at this stage, then comes the lockdown shutdown, furthermore, IRS issued 3 rounds of economic impact payment stimulus check to eligible US Citizens living abroad which was a priority to IRS to issue these check, Finally the challenges and further delays faced by paper-filed tax returns from non-US Citizens and US Citizens living outside of the USA. The IRS is now open again and currently, processing mail, tax returns, payments, refunds, and correspondence, but limited resources continue to cause delays. The IRS said it's also taking more time for 2020 tax returns that need review, such as determining recovery rebate credit amounts for the first and second stimulus checks - or figuring out earned income tax credit and additional child tax credit amounts.


If tax return was filed and still refund not received, what are the other possible causes other than IRS backlog processing delays?

Other possible reasons for refund delays:

  • If you provided USA bank account details for refund deposit and account numbers and name does not match for refund deposit.

  • For late-filed tax returns, 2019 or prior tax returns IRS would only issue a cheque even if US bank deposit details are provided this is security reasons.

  • If you moved home and your check landed in the wrong address.

  • International postal service missing issue with US Postal service despatch to Middle east and other foreign countries.


If you believe your refund check could have gone missing, what’s is the next step?

Form 3911 completion and mailing to the IRS would be the next recommended step, wherein by filling this form, IRS helps to trace your refund to determine the whereabouts of the check issued regardless of the reason for never receiving your tax refund. Form 3911 is a rescue track option even if a systemic error prevented your refund from reaching you and the check was otherwise not lost or destroyed to your Knowledge, the IRS can help.


When should you prepare and file Form 3911?

You should first try the option to track your federal tax return refund online with the IRS free refund where is my refund tool, Please click on this link and follow the steps listed to track the refund online.


If a substantial amount of time has passed since you file your tax return, for foreign nationals who filed a 1040NR federal tax return along with the FormW7 ITIN application, then you need to allow at least 6 to 8 months from the time the ITIN approval letter was issued.


You should not be sending Form3911 to request eligibility or the accuracy of the refund amount as the primary purpose of Form 3911 is to trace missing payments or lost refund checks in postal transit. On mailing of this 3911 form, you may expect a reply from IRS in 6 to 8 weeks subject to Covid delays.