What is IRS Reference code 1541?


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Please have the following available if you call:

A copy of this page.
A copy of your tax return.
The Social Security Number, Filing Status, and refund amount claimed on your return.
Any notice that you have received concerning your refund.
Reference number 1541.

Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
1-800-829-0582, when asked for an extension, enter 312.
From outside the US call 267-941-1000.
TTY/TDD: 1-800-829-4059

Best Answer

2/7/13 7:16 a.m.
Just got off the phone with the IRS regarding "reference number 1541."

The IRS rep calmly informed me that the IRS has 21 days to process my return to which I replied I wasn't inquiring about the speed of the refund process but about the aforementioned reference number.

She put me on hold for 3 minutes, she kindly informed me that they were still processing my return and that I should receive my refund within 21 days.

The "Where's My Refund" warning message is needlessly alarming people if this is the case.


I too got the code 1541.I called and spoke to agent and she said that she looked at my return and sees no problems with it...that perhaps the codes is because they have received millions of returns and it is delaying the process.She assured me that all was ok with my return and that I would be receiving my refund...and to only call back if it has been more than 21 days since filing.

Then I came online and researched and saw that many people were saying that this code is due to an offset owed.

Here is a number to call (it is all automated) to see if you have any debts owing that would offset your refund 800-304-3107.

I called and it said both me and my husband do not have any debts.So the advice here in this forum that it definitely means you owe something is incorrect.

Either it is a glitch with their new system...OR they are withholding larger returns.I have 2 friends that got their below $1,000 refunds in 7 days...So what I would like to know from this forum...are the ones getting the 1541 code expecting refunds over $1,000?

I filed on 1/31/2013 and was accepted at 10 am. Yesterday morning after seeing nothing I too had that message. I called and spoke with two different irs reps and both agreed and said reference number 1541 concerns tax offsets such as owed back taxes, unpaid child support or unpaid student loans.I was put on hold and told neither my husband or myself had any offsets and it was a glitch. The refund has been approved but would take two weeks for direct deposit date. So if you have none of these then most likely it is a glitch.That reference number is not your number but a general number for people with tax offsets.It has nothing to do with fraud, after speaking with several agents that is not correct and people should not be scaring anyone into thinking that is what it is!

I also got the same message and that Reference Number means that you have some sort of back taxes owed to either the IRS or an agency (examples of child support, student loans, etc).

The lady I spoke to said it should not delay your return very long but it will delay it at least a day or so. They will not release the rest of your funds until the balance you owe is paid.

You can certainly call the number listed along with the extension 312, but they don't really tell you much. They won't even give you the information of who you owe or how much you owe, they require you to call the agency, department that has the debt. It was a HUGE run around but if you know you owe taxes or owe money to an agency, that is WHY your refund was delayed/offset.

1541 is a generic number. It does mean something and it shouldn't get ignored. I was on the phone with them in great length and below are some of the issues that will result in this reference code popping up.

1. Back taxes owed from federal or state
2. Back due child support
3. Goverment student loans
4. Failure to file any prior years tax return
5. Even eic , earned income credit
6. Addidng a dependant that someone else claimed in prior years
7. Over payment of unemployment compensation

If you recieved this code it was not by accident, however they will say everything is ok yet you will get a letter in the mail. So reference number 1541 is not specific to any one person or issue.

If it is a issue with eic and they want you to prove that in fact you are entitled to it they will request paperwork same as if you claimed a child that someone else claimed in prior years. If this is the case you could expect to see your refund for these two issues take up to 90 days to get corrected.

My return showed as processing from 2-4 until 2-7 on 2-8 the delay message was there. After calling the IRS I was told it was just a delay and nothing to worry about and my refund was going to be deposited in 5 days. This morning when I checked IRS to go app it said my refund would be deposited on 2-13

So the rep was right, nothing to worry about.

I filed my taxes on Feb. 2nd.My refund is for over $1000.00.I have been checking once a day to see when the funds will be deposited, because I have friends who filed after me and will be getting their refund next week.I checked today and now I have code 1541.Upon reading some of these other posts I called the Tres. number and it said neither I or my husband have outstanding debt.Of course its Saturday so I cant call the IRS!!!It sounds like anyone with over $1000.00 is getting this code, so I hope it is just a glitch!!!!!!

Yes, I called as well, not treated very nice either, however; was informed taxes received and in processing and can take up to 21 days.She also stated if they find anything it can be delayed.I was not encouraged at all. I read my post of the Take Action Code 1541 and the same steps as above, they had no clue what I was speaking about, went to an H&R Block agent in our store, they had no clue, so, I am going to the IRS this Friday to see if I can get an explanation.

Reference code1541 is for back taxes owed. I got the run around first time I called and they said the refund will be processed within 21 days. The second time I called I finally got the right answer that there is an issue with my taxes from 2008. My refund is on hold until this issue is resolved.

You are so not alone. We tried to get the IRS HAG to look up our info, because we don't want to wait the 21 days,then have the problem still. If there is a problem, we want to fix it now. We filed on the 19th. We were accepted early on the 25th. Well WMR opened on the 30th it said processing, Then about 4 days after, we got the same message, and apparently we had the same conversation on the phone with the IRS. I am looking for answers myself. I heard that it could be they are checking eic credits , to you owe money, to if you haven't filed you are considered a first time filer, and that could be causing the delay. God forbid the IRS don't help you out and do their job, and try to help your personal situation. And yes ours is over $1000