Tax Strategies & Credits

Checking the Status of Your Federal Tax Refund is Easy

Delia Mena
Checking the Status of Your Federal Tax Refund is Easy

If you’ve filed your taxes and are expecting a refund, the wait can seem interminable. The Internal Revenue Service has made things a bit more predictable with the creation of an online refund status tool called “Where’s My Refund?” The interactive tool can provide you with an update no matter how you asked for your refund to be provided: whether you are looking for a direct deposit into a single account or multiple accounts, or are waiting for a paper check to be sent, the website will provide you with up-to-date information.

When Will My Refund Information Be Available?

The website is active 24 hours a day, seven days a week, but the availability of your update will depend upon whether you filed electronically or via a paper return. If you e-file then the first update on your refund will be posted within 24 hours of the agency receiving your electronic return, and the refund itself will likely be issued within 21 days (though new regulations prohibit refunds based on the earned income tax credit and/or the additional child credit from being provided before February 15th). If you filed your taxes via a paper return, the first update is likely to appear on the website in approximately four weeks.

In addition to providing acknowledgement that your return has been received and is in process, the other status information that the website may show includes:

  • The date your refund was mailed or direct deposited into your bank account
  • Notification that your refund was not able to be delivered as a result of incorrect personal information. The website will then provide the ability to correct the address so that a new delivery attempt can be made.

What Information Will I Need?

When you are checking your tax refund’s status, you will need to have some specific personal information and tax return information handy. You will need: 

  • Your Social Security Number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number
  • Your filing status (specifically, whether your return is filed as “single”, “married filing jointly”, “married filing separately”, “head of household”, “qualifying widower”.
  • The amount of the refund that you are expecting, as reflected on your tax return

As noted above, electronically filed tax returns get updates of status earlier than paper returns, and refunds that are requested as direct deposit are received faster than those that are requested via paper check. 

The “Where’s My Refund” online tool has made it much easier for people to get updates on their tax return’s status. It also provides the ability to address issues such as refunds that have not arrived with 28 days of mailing.

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Delia Mena

Delia Mena

Delia Mena, CPA is a Tampa based tax professional who specializes in accounting and tax preparation. Delia is the founder of her own tax based practice, Delia's Accounting Service, based in Tampa, FL. With over 12 years of experience, Delia's practice is fully equipped to assist clients with any of their financial needs. Delia's Accounting Service provides the perfect mix of independent paralegal's, bookkeepers, and notary public professionals providing high quality services to a wide range of clients. To learn more about Delia and her practice, visit her website.

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