Where’s My Refund?

You filed your taxes and are entitled to a refund, but you haven’t received the refund yet.  What should you do?

The best way to check the status of a refund is to use the Where’s My Refund? tool on IRS.gov. This tool gives access to your tax return and refund status anytime. All that is needed is internet access and three pieces of information:

  • Social Security number
  • Filing status on the return
  • The exact whole dollar amount of the refund

You can start checking on the status of your return within 24 hours after the IRS has received the e-filed return, or four weeks after a paper return has been mailed. Where’s My Refund? includes a tracker that displays progress through three stages: the IRS receives the tax return, then approves the refund, and sends the refund.

Where’s My Refund? updates once a day, so there’s no need to check more often.

Generally, the IRS issues most refunds in less than 21 days, but some may take longer. IRS phone and walk-in representatives can research the status of refunds only if it’s been 21 days or more since a taxpayer filed electronically, or more than six weeks since they mailed a paper return. You can also contact the IRS if Where’s My Refund? directs you to do so.



About the Author

Kay Sowa is a paralegal in the Trusts and Estates Group at Capehart & Scatchard, P.A. She is an IRS Enrolled Agent, an Accredited Estate Planner®, and a Certified Trust and Fiduciary Advisor. She oversees the trust and estate administration practice for the firm. She is an accomplished author and lecturer who has frequently spoken on behalf of a number of organizations including the National Business Institute and the Institute of Paralegal Education.

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