When Will I Get My IRS Tax Refund?

Where's my refund

Finally. You completed your tax return and are receiving a refund. But how long will it take to get it? If you’re still waiting for your tax refund, there could be a good reason for the holdup.  

How long will it take to get my refund? 

It usually takes 21 days or less, from the time the IRS accepts your federal return, to process and receive your refund.  

How can I get my refund faster?  

The IRS usually begins accepting electronic returns in late January. They do not begin processing paper returns until mid-February, so if you want your refund as soon as possible, you should e-file. The sooner you file, the sooner you’ll receive your refund.  

Where is my refund?  

To track the status of your tax refund, visit the IRS website and use their “Where’s My Refund” tool. You can check your status 24 hours after e-filing or 4 weeks after you mail in your return. Make sure you have your Social Security number handy (or ITIN) and know your filing status and exact refund amount to accurately use this tool.  

Why was my refund delayed? 

Certain credits and deductions are associated with issues. If you claim them, the IRS will look at your return in significant detail before they release your refund. This can cause you to have to wait more than 21 days.  

Earned Income Tax Credit 

If you claimed the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC), your refund may be delayed. The IRS double checks returns claiming this credit to make sure that it is done properly. You probably won’t see your refund until the end of February, at the earliest—and that’s assuming there are no errors or problems with your tax return and you chose direct deposit.  

Home Office Deduction 

If you claim the home office deduction, then your refund might also be delayed. Like the EITC and ACTC, this credit is easy to make a mistake on and the IRS will want to double check your return. Unlike the EITC and ACTC, there is no pattern for how long your refund might be delayed. If your tax return is complicated and you claim this deduction, you might wait more than 21 days for your refund. 

How long should I wait before contacting the IRS? 

Wait at least 21 days to contact the IRS if you e-filed your return. If you mailed in a paper return, wait at least 6 weeks before contacting them.

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