Where's My Refund? How to Check the Status of Your IRS Tax Return

If you filed your tax return electronically by the April 18 deadline and are expecting a refund, the IRS says you should expect it within 21 days. That means you should have received it by May 9.

If you filed late or there were errors  -- or you didn't set up direct deposit -- you should expect a delay, the agency said.

You can track your federal refund using the IRS tax refund tracker, which will also let you know if your return has been rejected by the IRS because of errors.

Read on to see how to use the agency's tools to track your tax refund and how to access your online IRS account to get more information.  

The IRS usually issues federal tax refunds within three weeks. Some taxpayers may have to wait a while longer, especially if there are errors in your return.

When an issue delays your return, its resolution "depends on how quickly and accurately you respond, and the ability of IRS staff trained and working under social distancing requirements to complete the processing of your return," according to the IRS website.

The date you receive your tax refund also depends on the method you used to file your return.

If your tax refund goes into your bank account via direct deposit, it could take an additional five days for your bank to put the money in your account. 

This means if it takes the IRS the full 21 days to issue your check and your bank five days to deposit it, you could be waiting a total of 26 days to get your tax refund. 

Online services like Venmo and Cash App can deliver your tax refund a few days sooner since there's no waiting period for the direct deposit.

If you submitted a tax return by mail, the IRS says it could take six to eight weeks for your tax refund to arrive once it's been processed. 

In testimony to the House Ways and Means Committee, IRS Commissioner Charles P. Retting said that the agency received "far more than 10 million returns" last year in which taxpayers failed to properly reconcile their received stimulus payments with their recovery rebate credit, which required a manual review and resolution.

If the delay is due to a necessary tax correction made to a recovery rebate credit, earned income tax or additional child tax credit claimed on your return, the IRS will send you an explanation. 

If there's a problem that needs to be fixed, the IRS will first try to proceed without contacting you. However, if it needs any more information, it will write you a letter. 

If you've requested a paper check for your tax refund, it'll take longer, too -- about six to eight weeks, according to the IRS. 

To use the IRS tracker tools, you'll need to provide your Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number; your filing status (single, married or head of household); and your refund amount in whole dollars, which you can find on your tax return.

Make sure it's been at least 24 hours before you start tracking your refund, or up to four weeks if you mailed your return. 

Go to the Get Refund Status page on the IRS website and enter your personal data, then press Submit. You should be taken to a page that shows your refund status.

If not, you may be asked to verify your personal tax data and try again. If all the information looks correct, you'll need to enter the date you filed your taxes, along with whether you filed electronically or on paper.

The Where's My Refund tool lists the federal refund information the IRS has from the past two years. If you're looking for return details from previous years, you'll need to check your IRS online account. 

From there, you'll be able to see the total amount you owe, your payment history, key information about your most recent tax return, notices you've received from the IRS and your address on file. 

The IRS also has a mobile app, IRS2Go, which checks your tax refund status. It's available for both iOS and Android and in English and Spanish.

Using it, you'll be able to see if your return was been received and approved and if a refund was sent. 

To log in, you'll need your Social Security number, filing status and the expected amount of your refund. 

The IRS updates the app overnight, so if you don't see a status change, check back the following day. 








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