Tax Topic 152 and 303: Why Is My Refund Delayed? 

When you’re checking your refund status using the IRS’s Where’s My Refund tool, you may see a message referring you to Tax Topic 152 or Tax Topic 303. Learn what these messages mean and how to get your refund as fast as possible. 

What is Tax Topic 152? 

Tax Topic 152 is the IRS’s reference code to inform taxpayers that their refund is processing longer than usual. You’d likely come across this code using the Where’s My Refund tool. 

Why do I see Tax Topic 152? 

There are several reasons why you could be seeing Tax Topic 152. 

  1. You filed a paper return. Tax returns filed the traditional way will take longer than those submitted online.  
  1. You claimed an injured spouse on your tax return. Your injured spouse’s claim must be approved before processing your refund. 
  1. You claimed the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or the Additional Child Tax Credit. If you claim these tax credits, it takes more time to verify your eligibility and determine the value of your credit. 
  1. You applied for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). If you’ve applied for an ITIN, that request must be processed before your tax return is accepted. 
  1. The refund is from an amended return. It can sometimes take up to 20 weeks to get a refund from an amended return. 
  1. You may be requesting a refund from a tax withheld on Form 1042-S by filing Form 1040-NR 
  1. You chose a refund type that typically takes longer to process, like getting a check in the mail. 
  1. It can take longer to process if you submit your tax return after the due date. Remember, the sooner you file your tax return, the sooner you’ll get your refund. 

How long should my refund take to be delivered? 

According to the IRS, 9 out of 10 refunds process within 21 days or less. This timeframe depends on when you submit your tax return and when the IRS accepts it. If you’re unsure when you filed your return, check out the 2023 Refund Schedule to determine when your refund will arrive.   

But, if you’ve seen Tax Topic 152, your refund will likely take longer than 21 days to process. It doesn’t mean you’ve done anything wrong or you won’t get your refund. It’s just an indication that your return is still being processed and has yet to be accepted or rejected.  

How can I avoid future delays? 

Sometimes delays are out of your control, but there are some things you can do to prevent your refund from being delayed. 

Before you sit down to file your tax return, make sure you have the following: 

  • Your ITIN (if applicable) 
  • A copy of last year’s tax return 
  • Personal identification information such as Social Security numbers (SSN), birthdates for yourself and your dependents and/or spouse 
  • Your Identity Protection PIN (if applicable) 

Filing an accurate tax return will reduce the likelihood that your refund will be delayed in the future. Always double-check your tax return to ensure your information is correct.  

Additionally, you can speed up your refund’s processing time by filing as soon as possible and choosing to receive your refund through direct deposit.  

What is Tax Topic 303? 

Tax Topic 303 is another reference number that might appear when checking your refund status. This topic notifies you of possible errors in the information entered on your tax return. These errors could include: 

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

You can avoid many of these errors by filing with TaxSlayer. We guarantee the accuracy of all calculations based on the information you provide, so you can file with confidence. Start for free now

This article is intended to provide general information to the public and does not provide personalized tax, investment, legal, or business advice. You should seek the assistance of a professional for advice on taxes, investments, and any other financial, legal, or business matter pertinent to your individual situation.

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