As a CPA, tax season and tax day are like the Super Bowl, World Series, and Comic Con all rolled up into an action-packed pressure cooker, and one item routinely strikes me as interesting.

Right around tax day, and especially over the past few years, you begin to see articles, commercials, warnings about refund scams, infographics, and memes that center around what people should do with tax refunds. Many people simply expect they will get a tax refund every year, so it may come as a shock if they are waiting for a refund that has not come yet.

The idea of getting a tax refund has almost become an expected part of the process, but the real truth is that sometimes not getting a refund leaves you better off financially. That said, sometimes the tax refund check constitutes the largest single check an individual or family will receive. The average amount for a tax refund runs into the thousands of dollars, so this is something to be taken seriously and is important to understand.

It should come as no surprise, then, that one of the most common questions I get from clients and non-CPA colleagues at this time of year is, "Where is my tax refund?" Even the IRS has a where is my tax refund page?

There are several reasons why you might not have gotten, or ever get, a tax refund for the current year, and a few of the more common ones are explained below:

1. You filed an extension.

An extension gives you an opportunity to delay filing your tax return while still submitting an estimated payment. If your payment was an estimate, and depending on when you filed your paperwork, you might end up waiting some time for any tax refund you are owed

2. Your withholding was correct.

One of the most common reasons why people get refund checks is they have too much withheld from their paycheck during the year, which the IRS refunds to you after your taxes are calculated. If your withholding was accurate throughout the year, and you go back to take a look at your paychecks, you should notice they are incrementally larger as the year moved forward. You got your refund, but it was spread throughout the year instead of in one big chunk.

3. The return is in process.

Especially true if you have filed a paper return, and did so close to tax day, your tax return might still be in process. The time between when you file the return and when the IRS cuts your check can easily be a month, so checking the IRS link above will give you an idea where your return is in the review process.

4. Other income.

If you had substantial income from an IRA, which might the case if invested in areas that have followed the broader market run-up increases, you might offset your refund. Since usually the only taxes withheld are on income earned from your employer, the income you earned through an IRA might result in a tax liability that wipes out a refund you were otherwise owed.

When it comes to taxes, be sure to always check with your CPA or tax professional before making any financial changes, but hopefully these answers have addressed some of your concerns as to where your tax refund may be. That said, and this might be true be for you as you are reading this, maybe the fact that you are not getting a tax refund means that you have a better handle on your finances during the year. And is that such a bad thing?