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What does 810 refund freeze mean?

The 810 refund freeze code indicates the IRS has stopped or frozen your tax refund pending further review. This usually happens when something on your return triggers concern or discrepancies. Until the issue is resolved, the IRS will hold any refunds owed to you.

Why the IRS May Freeze Your Refund

The IRS doesn‘t take the decision to freeze a refund lightly. Here are the most common triggers that could cause an 810 freeze:

  • Math errors – The IRS check found mistakes in your calculations for income, deductions, credits, etc. Double check your work!
  • Incomplete information – Missing or incorrect SSNs, forms, or schedules can raise red flags. Make sure to include all required docs.
  • Unfiled prior returns – You‘ll get frozen if you haven‘t filed taxes for previous years. File ASAP to get your refund released.
  • Identity issues – The IRS couldn‘t verify your identity so they halt refunds. Send proof of ID to resolve this.
  • Outstanding debts – If you owe back taxes, child support, student loans, etc. they may take your refund to cover debts.
  • Suspected fraud – Large refunds or deductions trigger fraud alerts. Be ready to prove everything is legit.
  • Questionable refund credits – Issues with Earned Income Credit or Child Tax Credit can lead to a freeze.

According to IRS data, around 1.4 million returns were flagged for refund freezes in 2020 for issues related to identity theft, fraud, or credit discrepancies. So it does happen fairly frequently!

How Long Can the IRS Freeze Your Refund?

The IRS can legally freeze refunds for indefinite periods while issues get resolved. However, most freezes get lifted within 6 months if you take prompt action. Here are some stats on average refund freeze durations:

  • Identity verification issues – 30 days or less if you provide documentation
  • Unfiled prior year returns – 2-3 months after submitting returns
  • Math errors or incomplete forms – 1-2 months after amending and re-filing
  • Outstanding debts – Varies depending on time to verify debt and repayment plans
  • Fraud concerns – 6 months or more for in-depth reviews

The key is to respond quickly to any IRS inquiry so you can get your refund ASAP!

5 Steps to Get Your Frozen Refund Released

If you receive an 810 notice, stay calm and take these steps:

  1. Review your return – Correct any errors you find and file an amendment. Double check for missing info.
  2. Verify your identity – Submit documentation to prove your identity. Passport, W2s, and prior year returns work.
  3. Contact the IRS – Call 1-800-829-1040 to get specifics on why your refund was frozen and how to resolve it.
  4. File past returns – If you have unfiled returns from prior years, file them immediately. The IRS may release your refund once they have the past returns.
  5. Pay back debts – If you have outstanding taxes or debts owed, set up a payment plan with the IRS. They may release your current refund once the plan is approved.

Following IRS instructions closely and providing requested docs will help get your refund unfrozen ASAP!

Can You Prevent Refund Freezes?

While you can‘t totally prevent a freeze, there are some steps you can take to avoid them:

  • Double check your return – Have a tax pro review your return to catch errors before filing. Make sure your SSNs, forms, and schedules are complete.
  • E-file your return – Electronically filed returns have fewer errors. If you must mail it, double check every field first!
  • File on time – Late returns raise red flags for unfiled prior year returns. File an extension if you need more time.
  • Verify your identity – Make sure your personal info is up to date with the IRS, including address changes.
  • Be ready to document – Keep tax forms, W2s, 1099s, and records available in case the IRS requests proof.

While refund delays are frustrating, the IRS freeze is there to protect taxpayers by preventing fraud and errors. Respond promptly to any IRS inquiry and provide complete documentation to get your refund released ASAP!