What’s The Difference Between Return Accepted And Return Approved?

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What’s The Difference Between Return Accepted And Return Approved?

We have the answer to this very common question, “What’s The Difference Between Return Accepted And Return Approved?” If you have filed your 2016 tax return and went to the IRS Where’s My Refund website, IRS2Go App, or received an email or text from your tax filing website, you most likely have seen the term Return Accepted but not on the Return Approved. 2017 Tax Refund Acceptance 01 12 2017

Versus. What’s The Difference Between Return Accepted And Return Approved?




A tax return is in “Return Received” or “Return Accepted” means that your tax return has passed the initial screening by the IRS. This includes some simple fraud checks such as verifying your social security number has not been used or any red flags listed on your IRS account. Once your tax return has been accepted, it will remain the same until the IRS sets your direct deposit and check date then moves your tax return status to “Refund Approved.”

The IRS is still only guaranteeing your tax refund within 21 days of “Return Accepted” status. We do have our E-File Cycle Chart to better help you estimate your tax refund date. Once your tax return is “Refund Approved”, your Refund Status date will appear on the Where’s My Refund page(link above).

We hope that this information was useful to you.

Thank you,


  • Carey Nichelson

    on the wheres my refund page ..it says you tax return is still be proccessed and and a date will be provided when available ? what does this mean ? there is no tracker bar or anything

    • BETH

      Same here…

    • Sakura

      Mine saying the same

    • Michael

      It may means that they are holding your tax return. One of the popular reasons is identity theft prevention alert. Call IRS to check at 800-829-1040

      • Teresa Galer

        i am in that boat and all i got from them was wait for a letter for further instruction. mine was flagged for suspicious acitvity. she said no letter has been mailed yet. could take another 4 weeks ugh

    • tishy83

      The ‘Where’s My Refund?’ tool has been down as is the e-filing option. From the information I’ve gathered, it shouldn’t affect returns submitted before this problem arose, but I am still waiting on my stuff as well. I was accepted on 1/14.

      • yaritza lopez

        I was accepted on the 20th and still say processing….

      • yaritza lopez

        I was accepted on the 20th and still say processing….

    • Teresa Galer

      i had a tracker bar until a week ago. i found out my tax is flagged due to suspicious activty and theyy are in the process of determining the money goes to the right person. no letter mailed yet. could delay me by another 4weeks. she did not tell me a number to call to verify…sucks

  • BETH

    This is what the IRS FAQ’s says to this question….but who knows:

    ” Does Where’s My Refund? always display my refund status with the tracker showing three steps? No. In some cases the tracker graphic will not be shown if your return is being reviewed prior to step two: “Refund Approved,” and instead an explanation or instructions will be provided depending on the situation. This can happen even if you previously checked Where’s My Refund? and it showed the status as “Return Received” along with the tracker. In these cases be assured that we have your tax return and we are processing it. Please follow the directions provided by Where’s My Refund? . Otherwise if we need more information we will contact you – usually by mail. If we send you a letter about your return, please follow the instructions in the letter as soon as possible.”

  • Kimberly Craddock

    I was accepted on the 12th and I no longer have the bar! I was told they are still processing it but has not yet been issued a date.

  • Rachel Juarez

    On another board many ppl have called the irs and gotten their dd dates and even though wmr still says processing. It safe to say the wmr is not very up to date

    • Teresa Galer

      it might mean like me that my tax return is being held because of the new fraud security to make sure your money goes to right perso n. i have not gotten a letter yet. and the lady i talked to did not have a phone number oulor what they want to prove who i am. she said delay could be 4 weeks

      • emily cruz

        Is there a phone number that specifically works? ive tried 3 different numbers for the IRS and theyre all automated and once I enter in my info the call hangs up on me. All I am able to find out is that its still being processed 3 weeks later, I haven’t received a date of deposit and the WMR says we have received your refund and it is being processed. I haven’t received any error code or letters in the mail stating that something has happened so im just confused as to the hold up and not being able to speak to a live person is driving me nuts

        • Vicky Hunter

          Emily…I believe this number gets you to a “live” person: 800-829-0582- Ext. 652

          Good luck

        • Faun E. Jackson 111

          Yes , mine took forever we thought it was BC we injured spouse form 8379 BC of my debt ,but everybody been delayed with new regulations. But for a week our wmr disappeared also we filed on the 26 of Jan we called them this number works actually human and no wait and told me where exactly what’s going on 202-727-4TAX our bar showed up after contacted them and date is 2 Mar hope that helps you.

  • Khalia Levister

    I filed my refund on the 19 of January and it was accepted on the 21 it said being processed now my bars is gone with the code 152 can someone help me please

    • Francine Corona

      Any chance did you have health care through the Market place?

      • Teresa Galer

        no but i had health insurance through my employer for 2 months

    • Francine Corona

      Any chance did you have health care through the Market place?

    • Teresa Galer

      call them you might be in same be being held as part of identity theft protection because suspcious activity happened. now the irs has to determine and figure out the money goes t.o right person

  • Elizabeth

    Well i got accepted on Feb 8, just got approved today Feb 13, and WMR says my refund should be deposited on Feb 18 🙂

  • desiray

    I try to look on wheres my refund and it says “We cannot provide any information about your refund. You must wait at least 24 hours after you get the acknowledgement e-mail that your tax return was received by the IRS. I have e filed on the 7th what does that mean

    • SimplyBlesed5

      It could mean it hasn’t been accepted yet or there may have been some adjustments made to your refund amount

  • Mr Jay

    I was just told on 3/1/16 that if you don’t give the wmr a full 24 hrs before u log back in that it will keep giving you a error message

2018 Refund Schedule and Refund Calculator now available!Click here