When you file your tax return, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will receive your information and start processing your return. The processing of your tax return involves a series of steps, including data entry, error checking, and matching your information against their records.
If the status of your tax return is “still being processed,” it typically means that the IRS is still working on your return. This can happen for a variety of reasons, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re being audited. In fact, most taxpayers who receive this status are not being audited.
Here are some reasons why your tax return might still be in the processing stage:
- Processing delays: Sometimes, the IRS experiences processing delays due to a backlog of returns. This can happen when the agency receives a large number of returns at once, or if there are staffing shortages or other issues that slow down processing times.
- Errors or inconsistencies: If the IRS detects errors or inconsistencies on your tax return, they may need to take additional time to review your return and request additional information from you. Common errors that can delay processing include missing or incorrect Social Security numbers, math errors, or incomplete information.
- Missing information: If you didn’t provide all of the required information on your tax return, the IRS may need to contact you for additional information. For example, if you claimed a deduction but didn’t include the required documentation, the IRS may need to request that information from you.
- Identity verification: The IRS may need to verify your identity before processing your return. This can happen if they suspect that your return may be fraudulent or if there are discrepancies between your return and their records.
- Refund delays: If you’re expecting a refund, your return may take longer to process if there are issues with your refund. For example, if you owe back taxes, child support, or other debts, the IRS may offset your refund to pay those debts. This can delay the processing of your return and the issuance of your refund.
While the status of “still being processed” doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re being audited, it’s important to note that the IRS does conduct audits on a regular basis. An audit is an examination of your tax return to verify that your income, deductions, and credits are accurate and that you have paid the correct amount of taxes. Audits can be conducted by mail or in person, and they can be triggered by a variety of factors, such as:
- Red flags: If your return includes certain red flags, such as unusually high deductions or credits, the IRS may flag your return for further review.
- Information matching: The IRS compares the information on your tax return to the information that they have on file, such as your W-2 or 1099 forms. If there are discrepancies between your return and their records, they may conduct an audit.
- Random selection: The IRS may randomly select your return for an audit as part of their ongoing efforts to ensure tax compliance.
If your return is selected for an audit, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve done anything wrong. Audits are a routine part of the tax process, and many taxpayers are selected for audits each year. If you are audited, the IRS will contact you by mail or phone to let you know what documents and information they need from you.
In summary, the status of “still being processed” on your tax return doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re being audited. It simply means that the IRS is still working on your return, and there may be a variety of reasons why it’s taking longer than usual to process. However, if your return is selected for an audit, it’s important to take the process seriously and provide the IRS with the information they need to complete their review.