Why Did My Status Bars Disappear on WMR 2021? Troubleshooting Tips

As people track their refunds through WMR (Where's My Refund), some of them can't see the status bars when checking on 2021 refunds. Here's what you should do.

Anuradha Garg - Author

Feb. 16 2022, Published 12:03 p.m. ET

A lady checking her federal refund on a laptop
Source: TurboTax Facebook

During tax season, it's common for taxpayers to look forward to their refunds as soon as they file their returns. The IRS runs the WMR (Where’s My Refund) webpage and it's one of the most common and popular ways to keep a track of your refund. Many people want to know why the status bars sometimes disappear on WMR when checking 2021 taxes. Is the IRS experiencing delays and issues?

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WMR is a lifeline for a lot of people between the time they file their returns and receive their refunds. The tool helps them keep track of their return.

What do the WMR tool’s status bars mean?

WMR tool shows three statuses:

WMR status bar 1 (return received): This status means that your return has passed the initial screen by the IRS. This includes checking your social security number and doing basic fraud checks. This status bar appears while the IRS processes your return in more detail and ensures that the refund amount is correct.

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A man holds up a copy of a tax refund check
Source: Getty Images

WMR status bar 2 (refund or return approved): Once your tax return checks out and it has been approved for a refund, this status will appear on WMR. A personalized refund date will also be provided.

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WMR status bar 3 (refund sent): This status is what people really want. It means that the IRS has sent your refund to your nominated bank account(s). It will also give you a specific date the refund was sent. If you have opted for direct deposit, you should expect the money within 5 days of the refund sent date.

This tracker is updated daily at 3:00 a.m. ET.

Why did the status bars on WMR 2021 disappear?

There could be a number of reasons why the status bars on your WMR disappeared. Saving to Invest highlights that according to the IRS, the WMR tracker graphic might disappear or not be shown if your return needs to be reviewed by the IRS. The IRS might need additional information to process your return. The IRS will provide an explanation or instructions depending on the particular situation. You should follow the instructions provided to avoid further delays in the IRS processing your return.

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The bars disappearing could also be due to the site having too much traffic and lagging, which causes the images and information about federal tax returns to disappear. The IRS said that this has happened every year since the tool was first available. In this case, the status bars disappearing doesn't mean that you have been flagged or that your return has been denied. The status bars have disappeared for many Americans who filed early.

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What do you need to do if the WMR status bars disappear?

The WMR status bars might have disappeared due to browser settings and the cache. You could try using a different browser and clearing the cache in your browser settings.

You only need to act if the status bars disappear and IRS asks you for additional information or clarification. Otherwise, just sit tight and wait for that refund to get credited.


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