IRS received my tax filing but never cashed my check

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    I filed my income tax on May 17, 2021.

    It was sent by regular mail, certified with return receipt requested. I received the return receipt about three weeks later.

    I owed so I included a check with my return. A substantial check around because I sold off some long term stock holdings with significant capital gains. This check was not cashed and it’s now July.

    What does this mean? Does it mean they never processed my return? They lost my check? What should I do to get this rectified, if anything?


    By the way I did call IRS hotline to inquire multiple times since early July. Each time after pressing 1 for this and 2 for that…I got the greeting to be transferred and then “we are experiencing a high call volume please call back GOOD BYE”. I try once or twice each week to no avail.


    Create an IRS account. Go to
    2) Click the “View Your Account” icon
    3) Click the “Create or view your account” icon

    Plenty of information once you get access.


    A month ago I read a news story about the IRS having a backlog of 35 million returns, including paper returns. They are under-funded and under-staffed, and have the extra work involved with Covid relief payments.

    I filed a paper return on May 4, and check my online account weekly. So far all I get is a message that my return hasn’t been processed.

    In your online account, if you click on “IRS operations and services” and then “Filed an individual tax return” you will see a detailed explanation of how they are dealing with the backlog.


    I created an IRS account, but the last step requires an activation code which will be sent to me by mail that takes 10-15 business days. So I will wait for the activation code to come to log in and see if I can view the status of my tax return processing. Hopefully it’s just a delay caused by the backlog and not my return being lost or misappropriated. I wonder what happens if by the time they get to processing it the check I wrote is already expired? Doesn’t a check expire after 3 months?


    At last I got confirmation via my IRS account that my paper 2020 return, mailed on May 4, was received. I’m due a refund, and when I checked “Where’s My Refund?”, I was told “Your tax return is still being processed. A refund date will be provided when available.”

    miamicuse, I believe that in general checks are valid much longer than just three months, but you could find out for sure from your bank.


    I finally got my activation code in the mail and logged in to see my returns.

    When I looked up the 2020 returns, it says:

    Your 2020 Tax Return Is Not Processed

    The due date has passed. If you’ve already filed, processing usually takes 21 days (electronic returns) or six weeks (paper returns).If you still need to file, submit your tax return along with any payment due as soon as possible to minimize potential penalties and interest. If you’ve been affected by a recent disaster, learn about the most recent tax relief provisions
    to know your options.

    so it says six weeks for paper returns which mine was. I mailed it on May 15 and have return receipt for it.

    I guess it is a delay everyone is experiencing? I hope they didn’t lose my return. My check is still not cashed.



    Yes, I’m sure this delay has been occurring for everyone who filed a paper return.

    Even if the IRS did lose your return, if you have a signed return receipt, that should protect you from any late payment/late filing penalties.

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