So you checked your IRS refund status and saw the cryptic message “Refer to Tax Topic 152.” This can leave you wondering – is this good news or bad news for my refund? Let’s break down what Tax Topic 152 means and navigate the emotions that come with it.

Tax Topic 152 Explained:

Think of Tax Topic 152 as a generic message from the IRS simply saying, “We’ve got your tax return and we’re taking a closer look.” It doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a problem, but it does indicate your return might take longer than the usual 21 days to process.

Why You Might See Tax Topic 152:

There are a few reasons why you might encounter this message:

  • Extra Scrutiny: If your return claimed certain credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or the Additional Child Tax Credit, the IRS might take more time to verify the information before issuing your refund. This is to prevent fraud.
  • Complexities: Did you have an unusual situation in your tax year, like selling a home or starting a business? The IRS might need extra time to ensure everything is accurate.
  • Missing Information: Sometimes, the IRS might need additional documents from you to complete the processing.

Is Tax Topic 152 a Bad Sign?

Not necessarily! In most cases, it just means your return needs a bit more attention. However, it doesn’t guarantee a smooth ride either.

You might want to read : Tax Topic 203 What Does It Mean

Scenario 1: The Wait Continues

Imagine John, a single dad who relies on the EITC for some breathing room. He sees Tax Topic 152 and worries his refund is delayed. While it might take longer, there’s a good chance John will still receive his full refund once everything checks out.

Scenario 2: Needing More Info

Sarah, a freelancer, claimed home office deductions for the first time. Tax Topic 152 pops up, and the IRS sends her a letter requesting additional documentation to verify her workspace. While it might be a hassle, providing the information promptly can get Sarah’s refund back on track.

Scenario 3: The Unexpected Audit

In a rare instance, Tax Topic 152 could be a precursor to an audit. This doesn’t mean you’ve done anything wrong, but the IRS might have questions about a specific item on your return. If this happens, staying calm and seeking professional help can ease the process.

What to Do if You See Tax Topic 152:

  • Don’t Panic! In most cases, it’s just a routine check.
  • Keep Records Handy: Have copies of your tax forms and supporting documents readily available in case the IRS needs them.
  • Use the “Where’s My Refund?” Tool: Keep checking the IRS website for updates on your refund status. You can access it here:
  • Seek Help if Needed: If you receive a notice from the IRS requesting information or have concerns about an audit, consider consulting a tax professional for guidance.


Tax Topic 152 is simply a heads-up that your return is getting a closer look. While it might cause some initial anxiety, understanding what it means and taking the right steps can help you navigate the process smoothly.

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