How Long Before I Get My Income Tax Refund?

by Lance


There are two ways for a taxpayer to get back their federal income tax refund. They can opt to have the refund amount direct deposited into their bank account or they can request a paper check be mailed. The option you choose will affect the amount of time it takes to receive your refund. It also matters how you have filed your tax return and if the return was accurate.  Using a tax software program to do your tax return such as TurboTax will help speed up the process and should increase accuracy as well.  There are various factors to consider between efiling your return or mailing it.

Tax Refund for Electronically Filed Income Taxes

Generally, if you complete an accurate tax return, filed electronically, and requested a EFT (electronic funds transfer) where the refund amount goes directly into your bank account, your refund should be available within three weeks of your return being acknowledged and processed by the IRS.

Tax Refund for Income Taxes Filed Through the Mail

If you requested a paper check, the three week time period still applies but it may take a bit longer to receive via regular mail. If you filed a tax return by mail, your refund will be issued within six weeks from the date the return was received by the IRS, whether or not you opted for a paper check or an electronic deposit.

Incomplete Income Taxes

Taxpayers who file a return that has been deemed incomplete or must be amended can expect to receive their refund within 8-12 weeks after the confirmation of filing is provided. If you file a Form 8379 (Injured Spouse Allocation), expect your refund to take even longer depending on the situation.

Check Status of Tax Refund

All taxpayers can check the status of their refund money via the Internet or by calling a toll-free hotline. Taxpayers must wait at least 72 hours after an electronic tax filing before they can check their refund status. Individuals who have filed via mail will need to wait at least 3 weeks after making in the form. The refund information system is automated. You will need to know your filing status, Social Security number and the exact whole dollar amount in order to access refund information via the automated system. Internet users can visit the ‘Where’s My Refund’ page at the IRS.gov website. Callers can contact the toll free hotline at 800-829-1954 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              800-829-1954      end_of_the_skype_highlighting. Taxpayers can access the date of the approximate arrival of refunds and will also be advised as to any tax preparation errors or delays in processing.

Verify Tax Refund is Correct

Once a refund is received, taxpayers should check to ensure the amount is correct. If a check or electronic deposit arrives for more than the amount listed on the tax return, the check should not be cashed. A notice will be sent out from the IRS explaining the discrepancy in amount. If no letter is received in a timely manner, taxpayers should contact the IRS office by phone or via their website. In the even a refund arrives for an amount smaller than expected, the check can be cashed. A check in the amount of the difference will be mailed at a later time. All inquiries should be made by the filer directly to the IRS office at 800–829–1040 if a notice or follow up check have not been received within two weeks. If refund checks do not arrive at all and are expected to be lost or stolen, contact the IRS office who can help issue a replacement check.

More resources

Popular tax software – TurboTax review

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