It’s tax refund season, and if you’re one of the responsible Americans who has already done their taxes, you can expect to get your refund in about three weeks — with a few notable exceptions.

The IRS began processing tax returns on January 29, after the federal government shutdown ended, and will do so until the 2018 filing deadline of April 17.

When to Expect Your Refund

The IRS acknowledges that there are common “myths” regarding tax refunds.

For example, a common misconception claims that all refunds are typically delayed. However, according to the IRS, it “issues more than nine out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days.”

It’s no surprise that filing your taxes online will speed up the process, and hence your tax refund status. “Eight in 10 taxpayers get their refunds faster by using e-file and direct deposit,” the IRS says. “It’s the safest, fastest way to receive a refund and is also easy to use.”

Reasons Your Refund Could Be Delayed

There are specific exceptions to the “on time refund” rule. While the majority of refunds are issued within 21 days of filing, some may be delayed due to specific factors.

“By law, the IRS cannot issue refunds for tax returns claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) before mid-February,” the IRS site states. The IRS needs extra time to check for fraud and prevent it in relation to those tax credits.

The IRS even uploaded a handy video to the IRS YouTube channel, which explains this process.

On the other hand, another factor that may delay a return could be due to additional review by the IRS. “For example, the IRS, along with its partners in the states’ and the nation’s tax industry, continue to strengthen security reviews to help protect against identity theft and refund fraud,” they say.

Why You Should E-file Your Taxes

Filing your taxes digitally isn’t only easier, but it will likely result in a quicker cash refund.

Some other useful tips from the IRS regarding your returns include the all-important advice of never trusting third parties requesting “tax payments.”

“The IRS doesn’t initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information,” the report says, which urges tax payers to look out for signs of scams.

The biggest tip the tax authority gives in the report? Calling the IRS won’t speed up your refund status. So save yourself the trouble and check your online account before picking up the phone to inquire about your taxes with the IRS.

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