IR-2020-45, February 28, 2020
WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service is reminding taxpayers today that the best way to check on their tax refund is by using the “Where’s My Refund?” tool at IRS.gov or through the IRS2Go Mobile App.
This news release is part of a group of IRS tips called the Tax Time Guide. The guide is designed to help taxpayers as they near the April 15 tax filing deadline.
As of February 21, the IRS had already issued more than 37.4 million refunds averaging $3,125.
While the majority of tax refunds are issued within 21 days, some may take longer. Just as each tax return is unique and individual, so is each taxpayer’s refund. There are a few things taxpayers should keep in mind if they are waiting on their refund but hear or see on social media that other taxpayers have already received theirs.
The IRS works hard to issue refunds as quickly as possible, but some tax returns take longer to process than others. Many different factors can affect the timing of your refund after we receive your return. Also, remember to take into consideration the time it takes for your financial institution to post the refund to your account or for you to receive it by mail.
There are several reasons a tax refund may take longer:
- Some tax returns require additional review.
- The return may include errors or be incomplete.
- The return could be affected by identity theft or fraud.
- The return includes a claim for the Earned Income Tax Credit or Additional Child Tax Credit.
- The time between the IRS issuing the refund and the bank posting it to an account since many banks do not process payments on weekends or holidays.
The IRS will contact taxpayers by mail if more information is needed to process a return.
Fast and easy refund updates
Taxpayers can use “Where’s My Refund?” to start checking on the status of their return within 24 hours after the IRS acknowledges receipt of an electronically filed return or four weeks after the taxpayer mails a paper return. The tool’s tracker displays progress through three phases: (1) Return Received; (2) Refund Approved; and (3) Refund Sent. To use it a taxpayer must enter their Social security number or ITIN, their filing status and the exact whole dollar amount of their refund. The IRS updates “Where’s My Refund?” once a day, usually overnight, so there’s no need to check more frequently.
Ignore refund myths
Some taxpayers mistakenly believe they can expedite their refund by ordering a tax transcript, calling the IRS or calling their tax preparer. Ordering a tax transcript will not help a taxpayer get their refund faster or find out when they’ll get their refund. The information available on “Where’s My Refund?” is the same information available to IRS telephone assistors.
Filing electronically and using direct deposit is the fastest and safest way to file an accurate return and receive a tax refund. More than four out of five tax returns are expected to be filed electronically, with a similar proportion of refunds issued through direct deposit.
Most taxpayers who want to prepare their own returns can file electronically for free with IRS Free File. Alternatively taxpayers who qualify can get free tax help from trained volunteers at community sites around the country.
Taxpayers can use several options to help find a paid tax preparer. One resource is Choosing a Tax Professional, which includes a list of consumer tips for selecting a tax professional.
The Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications is a free searchable and sortable database. It includes the name, city, state and zip code of credentialed return preparers who are CPAs, enrolled agents or attorneys, as well as those who have completed the requirements for the IRS Annual Filing Season Program. A search of the database can help taxpayers verify credentials and qualifications of tax professionals.
Taxpayers can find answers to questions, forms and instructions and easy-to-use tools online at IRS.gov anytime. No appointment required and no waiting on hold.