March 24, 2023

What Does ‘We Cannot Provide Information about Your Refund’ Mean?

Personal Taxes

Incorrect identity information is the most common reason the ‘We cannot provide information about your refund’ message appears on a taxpayer’s account.

However, it is not the only reason because, in some cases, this message only means that the IRS still hasn’t acknowledged your tax return. This message appears in the Return Status section of the Where’s My Refund tool immediately after you e-file a tax return.

You’ll have nothing to worry about if the message disappears after a day or two, but if you keep seeing this message weeks after filing a tax return, you must take action.

In this article, you’ll learn what the ‘We cannot provide information about your refund’ means and what you can do to avoid it.

The Implications of the ‘We Cannot Provide Information about Your Refund’ Message

The Implications of the ‘We Cannot Provide Information about Your Refund’ Message

The IRS needs a certain amount of time to acknowledge that a tax return was filed successfully and enter it into the Individual Master File system.

This period usually lasts for 24 to 48 hours for e-filed tax returns. Consequently, your tax return won’t be visible in the system during this time.

The waiting time for tax returns filed on paper is longer, and in most cases, the IRS will need three to four weeks to acknowledge these returns and enter them into the system.

In either case, the ‘We cannot provide information about your refund’ will be displayed on a taxpayer’s account during this time.

It’s also worth adding that you may see this message if you don’t e-file a tax return or if your return is pending.

The ‘We cannot provide information about your refund’ message could linger on your account for longer than a few weeks if some of the information on your tax return is incorrect.

Things to Check Before e-Filing a Tax Return

Ensuring all information on your tax return is accurate is the best way to avoid seeing this message on your account beyond the regular timeframe.

Hence, you must double-check if the following information on your tax return is correct:

  • Social Security Number
  • Filing Status
  • Check if the Federal Refund Amount also includes the state refund. Make sure that it doesn’t
  • Use the value from Form 1040 Line 35 to determine the Federal Refund Amount

Please note that in some cases, the ‘We cannot provide information about your refund’ message is displayed on a taxpayer’s account for more than 24 hours due to the high number of tax returns the IRS receives.

Where to Find the ‘We Cannot Provide Information about Your Refund’ Message

Where’s My Refund and IRS2Go apps enable taxpayers to monitor the status of their tax returns. Both apps have the Refund Status section, where you can check for the latest updates on your tax return.

The ‘We’re sorry, we cannot provide information about your refund’ message will appear in this section immediately after you file a tax return. You’ll find tax topic 152, which provides additional information about your tax refund, under this message.

Keep checking this section of the WPR or IRS2Go app for at least a week if you filed your return electronically or for three weeks if you file this year’s tax return on paper before reaching out to the IRS.

Identity Verification and the Initial Tax Return Acknowledgment Test

All taxpayers must include accurate information about their identities on tax returns they submit to the IRS. Each return goes through the tax return acknowledgment test before it enters the IMF system.

The purpose of this test is to check the accuracy of the information on a tax return. Here are some of the most mistakes that could cause the ‘We cannot provide more information about refund’ message to stay longer than usual on your account:

  • Misspelled names and wrong home addresses – Typos on tax returns are common, and they’re often the reason why tax returns fail the initial acknowledgment test.
  • Date of Birth isn’t correct – Yet another easily avoidable mistake that can cause the IRS to reject your tax return.
  • Insufficient or incorrect bank details – If you chose to receive your tax refund via a direct deposit, you must make sure that the bank’s routing number and the account number are correct.
  • Adjusted Gross Income for the previous tax year doesn’t match – You’ll be asked to enter the last year’s AGI when e-filing a tax return for this year. Any discrepancies between these values are likely to raise suspicion.
  • Incorrect EIN PIN – The IRS routinely rejects tax returns with incorrect PINs for EIN accounts.
  • Issues with employee/employer entries – Incorrect SSN or other vital information might be the reason why the IRS can’t acknowledge a tax return.
  • Tax Credit Claim Issues – You must make sure all information on the Earned Income Credit or other tax credit forms you’re filing is accurate.
  • Dependent claims – In some contexts, dependent claims might indicate an illegal use of a taxpayer’s SSN.

The IRS has the right to reject your tax return or request an additional identity verification if one or more information we mentioned above is incorrect.

5071C Notice

You’ll receive the 5071C Notice with the request for additional verification from the IRS if the information on your tax return is inaccurate or insufficient.

The notice will also contain a phone number you can call to verify the information and the address of the local IRS office you must visit for an in-person identity check.

You should call the IRS if you don’t receive a 5071C Notice from the IRS, and the ‘We cannot provide information about your refund’ message is still displayed on your account after two to four weeks.

A regular tax return processing screen in the WMR or IRS2Go apps should replace this message after a few weeks if the IRS doesn’t need a taxpayer’s assistance to resolve the issue.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Change the Information I Included in My Tax Return After I File It?

You cannot change the information in the original tax return after you file it, and you’ll have to submit an amended return if you want to correct a mistake you made on an original tax return.

Does the ‘We Cannot Provide Information about Your Refund’ Message Mean that the IRS Has Rejected My Tax Return?

This message doesn’t mean that the IRS has rejected your tax return. In most cases, the message will disappear from your account in a few days, or you’ll receive a 5071C Notice with a request to verify your identity.

Will My Tax Refund Be Delayed if the ‘We Cannot Provide Information about Your Refund’ Pops Up on My Account?

You should receive your tax refund in time if this message disappears from your account within a day or two after you e-file a tax return. However, the IRS may need more time to process a tax return and issue a refund if the message implies that the IRS needs to verify your identity.

How Long Does the Identity Verification Take?

Verifying your identity with the IRS doesn’t take long, and you can complete this process in less than a day.

Reach Out to a CPA

Neglecting a typo or using an incorrect Federal Refund amount can delay the processing of your tax return.

Go to or call 866-8000-TAX if you need a CPA who can help you file a tax return or verify your identity with the IRS.


Logan Allec, CPA

Logan is a practicing CPA and founder of Choice Tax Relief and Money Done Right. After spending nearly a decade in the corporate world helping big businesses save money, he launched his blog with the goal of helping everyday Americans earn, save, and invest more money. Learn more about Logan.

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