How to Check your Tax Refund Status with the IRS

Where is My Tax Refund? Here is How to Find Out

This article has been updated for the 2023 & 2024 tax years. The IRS tax deadline always arrives before you know it. That means a whole lot of procrastinators (myself included) are going to be filing their taxes any day now. And, if you are due a tax refund, the lingering question you probably will have is “where is my tax refund?!”.

As a general rule of thumb, the IRS anticipates issuing more than nine out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days, with a few exceptions that I will highlight later. If you e-file, the IRS suggests allowing at least 36 hours for your information to appear. But, if you can’t wait, checking on your income tax return’s status is actually pretty simple to do. The IRS has created a hub called “Where’s my refund?” that directs you to a tool to check on your tax refund status.

check tax refund status

When Does the IRS Start Processing Returns?

The IRS starts processing returns on the tax season start date each year (and not sooner). If you submit a return earlier than the IRS start date, it will be held, but not processed.

To Check your Tax Refund Status you will Need:

  1. The tax year
  2. Your Social Security number
  3. Your filing status (single, married filing jointly, married filing separately, etc.)
  4. The refund amount that you determined you are owed

What will the IRS Tax Refund Status Site Tell me?

When you enter the above information correctly, you’ll be able to find out:

  • If your return was received
  • If your return was processed
  • When your refund is estimated to be mailed or deposited into your bank account (if you selected the direct deposit option)

The IRS recommends that you check at least 72 hours after you e-file or four weeks after if you file a paper tax return.

Information is updated once a day, overnight.

A Note on Refunds for Returns Claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit or Additional Child Tax Credit

A newer law requires the IRS to hold refunds on tax returns claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or the Additional Child Tax Credit until mid-February. Under the change required by Congress in the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act, the IRS must hold the entire refund — even the portion not associated with the EITC and ACTC — until at least Feb. 15. This change helps ensure that taxpayers get the refund they are owed by giving the IRS more time to help detect and prevent fraud.

Watch Out for Refund Status Scams

The IRS never initiates email contact with taxpayers, so beware of emails offering to check your tax return status for you. In fact, I wouldn’t necessarily trust any websites that supposedly link to an IRS refund status site (ironic, since I did just that in this post). You’d be better off just typing into your browser and clicking ‘get your refund status’, and then ‘check your refund’.

Put Your Tax Refund to Good Use

A tax refund is an interest-free loan to the U.S. government. You survived the prior year without it, so now you should put it to good use. Here are some how to use your tax refund in order to get a positive ROI.

Tax Refund Discussion:

  • How long did it take for you to receive your refund?
  • How did you file this year? Paper or e-file?
  • Did you request direct deposit or check?

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