When Will My Federal Tax Refund Arrive?

Elizabeth Rosen
by Elizabeth Rosen, Contributor

 

Checking when your federal tax refund will arrive is fairly easy. The IRS has a page on their website (irs.gov) dedicated to this very issue. If you’re worried about your federal tax refund status, consider heading over to the IRS website now.

The IRS Website: "Where’s My Refund?" Online Tool

The right side of the main page of the IRS website has a section labeled “Filing and Payment” (look for an orange header with white text). Under this heading, you will see the icon for “where’s my refund?” (in green and blue letters). Click on this icon and you will be led to the main “Where’s My Refund?” webpage, where you can get information about the online tool and check the status of your federal tax refund.

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Before you start the process of checking for your tax refund, make sure you have the following information ready:

• Your Social Security Number (SSN)
• Your filing status
• The EXACT whole dollar amount of your federal tax refund

Note that instead of providing your Social Security Number (SSN), you can enter your Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) to check the status of your federal refund. If you have an ITIN, it can be found on your income tax return.

Make sure your filing status is entered correctly, using whichever filing status you entered when you prepared your federal income tax return. Even if your marital status has changed recently, be sure to use the filing status that appears on your 1040 form. If you are even a little unsure, go double-check your tax return.

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Finally, you will need to provide the tax refund amount you are expecting — in whole dollars. It is important to remember that the IRS needs you to provide the exact amount of your tax refund in order to check your federal refund status. If the proper amount is not entered correctly or you do not know it, you will be unable to access the status of your tax refund using the “Where’s My Refund?” online tool. Again, if you have any doubts you should check your tax return. It may not be a bad idea to check the information on your 1040 form anyway, just in case. If any of your information is entered incorrectly, the IRS won’t be able to update you on the status of your federal tax refund.

Finding Your Federal Tax Refund Status

Once you have entered all the necessary information, submit it into the “Where’s My Refund?” system. If enough time has passed from when you filed your tax return, you may be able find out when your federal refund will arrive. In fact, if you requested a direct deposit, the IRS website can even tell you when it will appear in your bank account.

Taxpayers who file their tax return electronically can expect a faster tax refund, and should be able to use the “Where’s My Refund?” system within 24 hours of e-filing their return. Taxpayers who mail a paper tax return should expect a longer wait due to the Postal Service and processing, and can generally start to check the status of their tax refund within 4 weeks of mailing their return.

If there is no news or information on your refund right now, you may have requested your federal tax refund status too soon. Give it another few days or so before you resubmit your request. This is especially true if you filed close to the April 15 deadline.