Transcript For Your IRS Tax Return and Refund Status – 150, 151, 152, 203, 420, 421, 570, 846, 898, 971, 1121, 1161

Transcript For Your IRS Tax Return and Refund Status – 150, 151, 152, 203, 420, 421, 570, 846, 898, 971, 1121, 1161. – 20221005. I have been seeing a lot of worrying comments from readers around tax transactions and topic codes they are seeing on the IRS Where is My Refund (WMR) website, the IRS2Go mobile app, or on their (free) IRS transcript. (Note: Please consider this article as informational. You should consult a tax professional or call the IRS for your specific situation.)

Many filers get stressed, alarmed, and worry about what these codes mean, what action do they have to take, and if their IRS refund is going to be much lower than thought. The biggest fear is owing money or facing an IRS audit. Based on what I have seen over the last few tax seasons and IRS guidelines, I will provide more insight in this article on what these tax topics and transaction codes mean.

I have also discussed specific codes, what they mean and provided links to articles with detailed examples in the sections below. Fortunately, most tax and transaction codes (TC) are just informational or updating status and the key is to wait and follow the official instructions you get from the IRS. I will continue to update with new codes and you can stay connected via the following options.

What are these transcript codes and tax topics? You can search the IRS website for each tax topic or transaction code but it’s not always clear what they mean and a lot of times they are pretty generic. Many of these tax topics and transaction codes are based on the IRS’ tax system processing and reporting individual and business tax returns. They are supposed to provide insight into reasons why the tax return is still processing, why refunds are delayed beyond their normal schedule, which tax offsets have been applied that lowers your refund, why additional IRS verification or some other tax-related issue.

2022 IRS Cycle Code and What Posting Cycles Dates Mean

What is an IRS cycle code and what do they mean? A cycle code is an 8 digit number that can be found on an IRS Account Transcript. The cycle code indicates when your tax return is posted to the IRS Master File. This is the easiest detailed explanation to help you determine what your cycle code can tell you about your tax return and tax refund update cycle.

By using the chart below, you can translate your IRS cycle code into a calendar date that tells you when your tax return is posted to the IRS master file. The IRS cycle code can be found on your “account” transcript displayed as an eight-digit sequence of numbers such as 20220405

To view, your online transcripts go to IRS.gov Get Transcript

The first six numbers are the cycle week and the last two numbers correspond with the day of the week.

Example 20220405: 202204=(Cycle) 05=(Thursday) = Thursday, January 27, 2022

Cycle Code Ending in 01= Friday
Cycle Code Ending in 02= Monday
Cycle Code Ending in 03= Tuesday
Cycle Code Ending in 04= Wednesday
Cycle Code Ending in 05= Thursday

2022 IRS Cycle Date Codes

CYCLE CODECALENDAR DATEDATE
20221102Monday, March 14, 202203/14/2022
20221103Tuesday, March 15, 202203/15/2022
20221104Wednesday, March 16, 202203/16/2022
20221105Thursday, March 17, 202203/17/2022
20221201Friday, March 18, 202203/18/2022
20221202Monday, March 21, 202203/21/2022
20221203Tuesday, March 22, 202203/22/2022
20221204Wednesday, March 23, 202203/23/2022
20221205Thursday, March 24, 202203/24/2022
20221301Friday, March 25, 202203/25/2022
20221302Monday, March 28, 202203/28/2022
20221303Tuesday, March 29, 202203/29/2022
20221304Wednesday, March 30, 202203/30/2022
20221305Thursday, March 31, 202203/31/2022
20221401Friday, April 1, 202204/01/2022
20221402Monday, April 4, 202204/04/2022
20221403Tuesday, April 5, 202204/05/2022
20221404Wednesday, April 6, 202204/06/2022
20221405Thursday, April 7, 202204/07/2022
20221501Friday, April 8, 202204/08/2022
20221502Monday, April 11, 202204/11/2022
20221503Tuesday, April 12, 202204/12/2022
20221504Wednesday, April 13, 202204/13/2022
20221505Thursday, April 14, 202204/14/2022
20221601Friday, April 15, 202204/15/2022
20221602Monday, April 18, 202204/18/2022
20221603Tuesday, April 19, 202204/19/2022
20221604Wednesday, April 20, 202204/20/2022
20221605Thursday, April 21, 202204/21/2022
20221701Friday, April 22, 202204/22/2022
20221702Monday, April 25, 202204/25/2022
20221703Tuesday, April 26, 202204/26/2022
20221704Wednesday, April 27, 202204/27/2022
20221705Thursday, April 28, 202204/28/2022
20221801Friday, April 29, 202204/29/2022
20221802Monday, May 2, 202205/02/2022
20221803Tuesday, May 3, 202205/03/2022
20221804Wednesday, May 4, 202205/04/2022
20221805Thursday, May 5, 202205/05/2022
20221901Friday, May 6, 202205/06/2022
20221902Monday, May 9, 202205/09/2022
20221903Tuesday, May 10, 202205/10/2022
20221904Wednesday, May 11, 202205/11/2022
20221905Thursday, May 12, 202205/12/2022
20222001Friday, May 13, 202205/13/2022
20222002Monday, May 16, 202205/16/2022
20222003Tuesday, May 17, 202205/17/2022
20222004Wednesday, May 18, 202205/18/2022
20222005Thursday, May 19, 202205/19/2022
20222101Friday, May 20, 202205/20/2022

Transcript Code 150 vs Tax Topic 151 and 152

Transaction Code 150 – Return Filed & Tax Liability Assessed – is one you will prominently see on your transcript, likely the first line per the screenshot below, after your return is accepted by the IRS and added to their master file cycle for processing.

Transcript Code 150 vs Tax Topic 151 and 152

This line represents your liability to the IRS, based on your filing. It does not include your refundable credits, shown via the 766 the 768 – Earned Income Credit (EITC) codes. If the number on your 150 code line is positive, means you owe the IRS money. If negative means you will get this added to your overall refund (or reduce tax owed).

However, it is very common for this to also be $0 if you don’t owe the IRS anything, based on the return you filed. If you have other refundable credits, it means your net refund will likely be made of these, less any IRS adjustments.

Remember you need to avoid looking at the 150 number by itself for your refund or tax owed. You need to add all your credits (766s, 768, 806) then subtract the amount by code 150, it will equal your net refund amount.

Tax Topic Code 151 and 152

While TC 150 is on your transcript after filing your return (and it is in the IRS master file for processing), you will often see corresponding Tax Topic 151 or 152 on the WMR website or IRS2Go mobile app. This often happens early in the tax season before the PATH act lifts, where you will be presented with a message that refers to IRS Tax topic 151 or 152 in relation to your refund. But what does this mean?

Tax Code 151 means that you’re getting a tax adjustment or offset (e.g. due to a stimulus payment adjustment) which may result in your refund being less than you expected. You will get an official IRS letter/report explaining the actual offset and adjustments to your tax return, and details on how to appeal this action – but likely it will delay you getting your refund.

While not great news, the silver lining here is that the IRS has processed your return (TC 150) and your adjusted refund (where applicable) should be on its way. You will have time to appeal any adjustments and if you win, you will get those paid back to you.

Tax Topic 152 on the other hand just means your return is under processing in line with IRS guidelines (generally within 21 days) and this notice confirm the methods for payment (direct deposit, check) and lists other items that could delay processing, per the screenshot below from the IRS website. If your return takes longer than the standard timeframe, WMR and/or your transcript will update to show why (a new error code) and what actions are being taken.

Tax Topic Codes 203 and 898 – Reduced Refund (Offset by BFS)

These tax topic references on WMR or your transcript may come up due to an injured spouse claim related to past-due child support, overpaid unemployment, and other income tax (federal or state) tax obligations. It is a bittersweet notice in that it means your return/refund has been processed but will be lower than expected or nothing at all. You will generally see tax topic 203 reflected as this tax code 898 on your transcript.

For non-IRS debts, this is initiated by The Department of Treasury’s Bureau of the Fiscal Service (BFS) which can legally apply these refund offsets. The BFS will send you a notice, with details on adjustment, if an offset occurs. BFS will notify the IRS of the amount taken from your refund once your refund date has passed.

The IRS cannot help you with this claim and will only process it as directed (moving to code 151 above when done). You should follow the BFS appeals process and only contact the IRS if your original refund amount shown on the BFS offset notice differs from the refund amount shown on your tax return.

However, if you are able to successfully appeal the offset you will get issued the additional refund and see this on your tax transcript as a credit (Tax code 766 – Tax Offset Reversal).

Tax Topic Code 570 (Return Reconciliation Errors)

Thanks to Domonique Jones for this update, who suffered from resolving this tax code last year. She had to eventually get a tax advocate for it to be fixed. TC 570 is a general code and could be due to many factors causing the tax return to be off, that include mismatching wage reports from what you submitted vs. what your employer(s) did to the IRS. It could also be due to missing or incorrect information in your return or adjustments for past year IRS debts.

In many cases, the IRS can and will automatically adjust this based on their internal review. For more complex situations they will send you a notice for more details. So don’t immediately jump to a negative conclusion. But realize your refund could be delayed since this code will stop payment until the issue is resolved

This code impacted Dominique because her tax preparer used her pay stubs instead of the W2 end-of-year tax summary from her employer, which did not reconcile and which is why she got the code (in WMR and on the tax transcript) after filing her tax return. Here is what happened next.

You will get a 45-day review letter, if something minor the IRS will fix on their own and then issue your return. If the IRS cannot resolve they will send you a follow-up and if they find more irregularities, they could end up doing an audit (low probability). But this will likely result in a significant delay in getting your refund.

Tax Topic Codes 420, 421 & 424 (IRS further examination/audit)

A transaction/tax code 420 on your transcript means that your tax return was pulled for a potential audit or further examination by the IRS. It does not necessarily mean that it will be assigned for a detailed audit, just that it is under examination because something got flagged during routine processing.

The return will be reviewed in due course by the IRS and may or may not necessarily be assigned for a full audit. You will receive an official IRS notice around this and a request for additional verification or documentation. Unfortunately, this will likely delay your refund beyond standard processing times.

Code 421 would indicate that the audit was closed.

Code 424 means your return has been set aside for examination after the initial examination (before you see TC 420). While this still does not mean a full audit is occurring (and there are different levels of audit) there is a manual review and this could delay getting your return processed and refund paid.

If your return was above board then getting one of the above codes is not a reason to panic. The IRS will either resolve based on internal checks or with the additional clarification you provide in response to their correspondence. Just make sure you follow the instructions sent and call the IRS for further inquiries.

Tax Codes 420, 421 & 424 (IRS further examination/audit)
Tax Code 420

Tax Topic Code 846 Refund of Overpayment – Refund Issued!

This is the code that most taxpayers getting a refund to want to see. Basically, TC 846 means the IRS is sending you the overpayment of your taxes – i.e. your refund!

So getting this code on your transcript is a good sign and confirmation your refund was paid. See more on transcript transaction code 846 and direct deposit in this article.

Tax Topic Code 846 Refund of Overpayment – Refund Issued!
Tax Transcript Code 846 – Refund issued

Tax Topic Code 971 vs. Code 971 on your Transcript

The 971 tax topic covers a broad range of spousal tax treatments and is based on IRS publication 971. It is focused on different tax treatments related to innocent (and not injured) spouse relief. This includes when a tax liability has been reduced by the IRS through either relief from an innocent spouse, separation of liability, or even bankruptcy discharge.

Seeing this code is actually a good thing as the spouse (or former spouse) will be relieved of the tax, interest, and penalties on a joint tax return, that would normally be obligated to share with their partner.

The IRS will only refund payments you made with your own money. However, you must provide proof that you made the payments with your own money. See IRS Publication 971 for more details. Also, note the 971 code on your tax transcript is different from the above 971 publication and is related to the issuance of a tax notice or letter by the IRS after an adjustment or review has been completed.

Tax Topic Code 1121 – Return Under review

Code 1121, referenced in your account transcript or WMR/IRS2Go app, generally means that your tax return is under further review by the IRS. This generally happens after initial system processing and an element gets flagged for review by an IRS agent. It may or may not result in a formal examination or audit by the IRS. You may see the “Return Processing Has Been Delayed Beyond The Normal Timeframe” message on WMR or IRS2Go when this code shows on your transcript.

There is nothing you can do at this point and will just need to wait for the review to be done and respond to any formal notices from the IRS (e.g CP05). Calling the IRS may not be of much help as you will likely just be told to wait till the review is done.

Filers who received the 1121 reference number should continue checking WMR [or IRS2Go] for a refund date. [The actions related to this code are] part of the IRS effort to prevent improper payments some tax returns take longer to process. This reference code is not an audit code, it is simply a reference number while your account is being researched.

Guidance around code 1121

Unfortunately, this code will likely delay your refund payment and from recent reports, it is taking the IRS at least 45 days to respond to tax filers seeing this code, with further instructions or actions.

Using Transcript codes and IRS cycle code to figure our what’s going on with your refund

While the above IRS codes can give you information on reasons your return is still processing or refund is lower than expected it does not give you much information around when this happened or when subsequent processing will occur. This is where your IRS master file cycle code can help.

Using your free IRS tax transcript, which shows various processing and error codes and a “cycle code,” you can get further insight into your tax refund status, processing stages, and potential direct deposit date.

Essentially if you can see an 846 code on your transcript with a date and amount for the current tax season, it means your refund is on its way by the specified date.

If you see other codes like 570, 898, 420, 971 with future dates or $0 amounts, without a current year 846 code, it means your return is under processing refund may be adjusted or delayed. You will generally get updates in line with your daily or weekly cycle code.

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