Around May this year (2019) I submitted a (late!) tax return for the 2017 fiscal year. I did so by generating the form with some tool, and then mailing it to the IRS office that was specified online. I know the form arrived safely, since I can see this in the IRS website when I check for my tax return:

Refund status screenshot

However it's been over 5 months and this status has never changed. Is such a delay normal or should I pay for an international call to the IRS to ask them directly?

Update: I called and they said there had been some error in their processing (apparently not in my form), and now it's back on the pipeline. It can take up to 16 weeks since my call to be refunded.

Update 2024: After moving back to the US, and filing my 2023 return, looks like the IRS picked up my new address and mailed me a check for the 2017 return, with some interest :). So, happy ending without having to really do much. (Before this, the refund status had disappeared from the website, so I thought I had lost it for good and was considering asking a lawyer or accountant about it.)


1 Answer 1


No, that's not typical.

The IRS refunds site suggests you call if:

  • It has been 21 days or more since you e-filed
  • It has been 6 weeks or more since you mailed your return
  • "Where's My Refund" tells you to contact the IRS

It might take longer for prior year returns but I don't see any alternate timelines for prior year returns, in no case would I expect it to take 5 months to provide you a status update. If they do not have a proper mailing address it is possible you have missed correspondence.

I'm not familiar with international calling rates, but if it's prohibitive you can also correspond by mail. The following has international contact information:


  • Thanks! It shouldn't be too expensive, I just had no clue if this was a usual timeframe or not for late returns.
    – Guido
    Commented Oct 15, 2019 at 20:12

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