IRS Code 846: All You Need to Know + FAQs

Picture of Lana Dolyna, EA, CTC
Lana Dolyna, EA, CTC

Senior Tax Advisor

An IRS Code 846 on your transcript means that the IRS has issued you a refund for your tax return. You can use the cycle code to determine the approximate date that you will receive your refund, or you can use the Where’s My Refund tool to get a more accurate date.

What is IRS Code 846?

An IRS Code 846 indicates that the IRS has finished processing your return and approved a refund on your tax return. The amount shown on the line will detail your refund amount. If the amount does not match the amount you claimed on your return, you will need to wait for an explanation letter from the IRS about the difference.

The amount shown on the transcript will also include any interest the IRS owes you on your refund. The refund is calculated as your total tax liability less any credits on your account (for federal income taxes withheld or estimated tax payments) plus any interest due to you.

When Will My Refund Arrive?

Once you see a code 846 on your transcript, your refund will be processed. The timing of your refund will depend on whether you asked for a direct deposit refund or a check. If you requested a check, you should receive it within 3-4 weeks.  Direct deposit refunds usually take 2-3 weeks. You can receive more specific timing for your refund by checking the Where’s My Refund tool.

Additional Codes Next to Code 846?

There are several additional codes that appear next to Code 846 that you should understand.

Code 898

If you see a Code 898, this means that at least part of your refund is being applied to outstanding non-IRS debt. These debts could be almost any type of outstanding, delinquent debt, but they are most often related to student loans, state income taxes, and child support.

Code 899

Code 899 will appear on your transcript if you had a portion of your refund applied to non-IRS debt.  Code 898 will show the full amount of the refund being applied to the debt and Code 899 will show the portion of the refund that is greater than the amount of your debt. You will receive the amount shown on this line as a refund.

Code 570

IRS Code 570 indicates that your return is on hold for an IRS review. You do not need to do anything until the hold in released.

Code 841

IRS Code 841 indicates that your direct deposit refund was rejected by the financial institution because the information that the IRS had on file did not match the financial institution’s information.

What Does the Date Next to Code 846 Mean?

The date next to Code 846 is the date that the IRS sent your refund. If you are receiving your refund via direct deposit, this is the date that the direct deposit was initiated by the IRS.

It can still take several days for the refund to appear in your account. If you are getting a refund by check, this is the date that the IRS printed the check. It will take several additional days to receive the refund since it’s by mail.

Something's Wrong? Contact the IRS

If you disagree with the items on your account transcript, you can contact the IRS to discuss the matter. You have several options for resolving issues.

Call the IRS

You can call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 and speak with an agent. The IRS often has very long wait times (usually 2-3 hours). An agent may be able to resolve your issue over the phone or they may request that you provide written documentation to resolve your matter.

Contact Your Local IRS Office

You can make an appointment at a local IRS office to meet with an agent. You should bring a written explanation of why the IRS is incorrect and supporting documentation for your claim.

Contact the Taxpayer Advocate Service

The Taxpayer Advocate Service is a department within the IRS that specializes in helping resolve taxpayer issues when they have been unable to get a resolution through the normal process.

Contact a Tax Professional

Suppose you’ve contacted the IRS and have not been able to successfully fix your problems. In that case, you should contact a tax professional such as the experienced professionals at Tax Shark that can walk you through the process and help your resolve your issue.


Here are the answers to some common questions about the IRS Code 846.

Yes. An IRS Code 846 on your transcript is extremely accurate.

Yes. Code 846 indicates that a refund has been issued by direct deposit or that a check has been printed for the refund.

No. The date next to code 846 is the date that the IRS initiated the refund. It can still take several days for a direct deposit refund or several weeks for a refund by check.

Code 846 does not indicate the form of the refund. The refund may be issued by direct deposit or check.