ComplianceLegalFinanceFebruary 04, 2021

IRS makes checking on tax refunds easy

Are you expecting a tax refund from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) this year? If you file a complete and accurate paper tax return, your refund will usually be issued within six to eight weeks from the date it is received. If you filed electronically, your refund will normally be issued within three weeks after the acknowledgment date.

It's not unusual to get a bit anxious as you wait for the refund after filing the return. The IRS understands this anxiety, and has provided several ways to check the status of your tax refund.

Check your refund status online

Online access to refund information can be found at Where's My Refund? or Donde esta mi reembolso?, the interactive tools on the IRS website. This is the fastest, easiest way to get information about your federal income tax refund.

Whether you split your refund among several accounts, opted for direct deposit into one account, used part of your refund to buy U.S. savings bonds or asked the IRS to mail you a check, Where's My Refund? give you online access to your refund information nearly 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It's quick, easy and secure.

Tip. If you e-filed your federal income tax return, you can get information about the status of your refund 72 hours after the IRS acknowledges receipt of your return. If you filed a paper return, refund information will generally be available three to four weeks after mailing your return.

When checking the status of your refund, make sure you have your federal tax return handy, because you will need some specific information from the return in order to get your personalized refund information. Here are the items you will need to enter in order to receive your status report:

  • Your Social Security Number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number;
  • Your filing status-Single, Married Filing Joint Return, Married Filing Separate Return, Head of Household, or Qualifying Widow(er); and
  • The exact whole dollar refund amount shown on your tax return.

Tip. If you filed a joint income tax return, you can use either your Social Security Number or your spouse's Social Security Number

Once you enter your personal information, you could get several responses from the online response system, including:

  • Acknowledgement that your return was received and is in processing;
  • The mailing date or direct deposit date of your refund; or
  • Notice that the IRS could not deliver your refund due to an incorrect address. If this is the case, you may be able to change or correct your address online using Where's My Refund?.

Where's My Refund? also includes links to customized information based on your specific situation. The links guide you through the steps you need to take to resolve any issue affecting your refund. For example, if you do not get the refund within 28 days from the original IRS mailing date shown on Where's My Refund?, you may be able to start a refund trace.

Where's My Refund? is also accessible to visually impaired taxpayers who use the Job Access with Speech (JAWS) screen reader used with a Braille display. It is compatible with various JAWS modes.

Check your refund status by telephone

If you do not have Internet access, you can check the status of your refund in English or Spanish by calling the IRS Refund Hotline at 800-829-1954. When calling, you must provide your Social Security number, the filing status used when filing the return for which the refund is claimed, and the exact whole dollar refund amount shown on your return.

Check your refund using IRS2Go

This year, you have another option for checking on your refund status: IRS2Go. IRS2Go is a smartphone application that lets you interact with the IRS using your mobile device. Apple users can download the free IRS2Go application by visiting the Apple App Store. Android users can visit the Android Marketplace to download the free IRS2Go app.

Simply enter your Social Security number, which will be masked and encrypted for security purposes, then select your filing status and the exact whole dollar amount of your refund shown on your return.

Tip. The IRS recommends checking back weekly, on Wednesdays, while waiting for your return.

Mike Enright
Operations Manager
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