When Will I Get My IRS Tax Refund?

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 about 21 days from the time the IRS accepts your federal return to receive your refund.

How can I get my refund faster?

The sooner you file, the sooner you’ll receive your refund. The IRS usually begins accepting returns in late January. You can also get your refund sooner if you choose to receive it through direct deposit. The IRS tells taxpayers that they can get their fastest possible refund by combining e-file with direct deposit.

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 the IRS has received your e-file or 4 weeks after mailing in your return. To use the tool, you will need your Social Security number or ITIN, your filing status, and the exact whole dollar refund amount shown on your tax return. You should see a result of either “Return Received”, “Refund Approved”, or “Refund Sent”.

Why was my refund delayed?

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

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 and that you are not trying to qualify for a credit you did not actually earn. You probably won’t see your refund until the end of February at the earliest, assuming there are no other errors or problems with your tax return, and you chose direct deposit.

Home Office Deduction

If you claim the home office deduction, 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.

The information in this article is current through tax year 2019. 

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