Waiting for your tax refund to find its way to your mailbox or your bank account can be difficult if you are tight on cash and really need the money, or even if you are just looking forward to spending it. You want to know when you can realistically expect to receive it. The IRS has an online tool that makes it easy to check the status of your refund. There is also a procedure to track down missing refunds if your refund does not arrive within the expected time frame.
The “Where’s My Refund?” Online Tool
The IRS indicates that it will pay most refunds within three weeks if you choose direct deposit and have filed your tax return electronically. Refunds can take six to eight weeks if you file a paper return. Where’s My Refund? on the IRS website to check the status of your refund. The tool is updated every 24 hours. You will need to have some information on hand:
- Your Social Security number or Employer Identification Number as it appears on your tax return
- The filing status you claimed on your return: single, head of household, married filing jointly, married filing separately, or qualifying widow(er)
- The exact refund amount as shown on your tax return
If your refund is approved, you should see an estimated date for deposit into your bank account. There should also be a separate date for when you should contact your bank if you have not received your refund by then.
The IRS2Go mobile app
You can access the Where’s My Refund? from your laptop or desktop computer, or you can use IRS2Go if you prefer to use your mobile device. This app is available for free download on iTunes, Google Play and Amazon. You can use it to:
- Check the status of your refund
- Make a payment if you owe tax
- Get free tax advice
- Retrieve security codes for certain online services provided by the IRS
How to Check on Your State Tax Refund
Each state uses a slightly different system for taxpayers to check the status of their tax refund. In general, however, there are two pieces of information you need to verify your refund. The first important piece of information is your Social Security Number (SSN). If you do not have an SSN, you can use a few different types of IDs in most states. One common type is an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). If you file a joint return, use the ID number that appears first on the return.
Almost all states also require you to provide the amount of your refund. Most states ask you to round your return to the nearest whole number, but some states, like Vermont, ask for the exact amount of your refund.
These two things are enough to verify in some states. Other states may also require your date of birth, the year of filing, your filing status, or your zip code. Below is an overview of how to check your refund status in each state where income taxes are levied.
Note that Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington and Wyoming have no state income tax. New Hampshire and Tennessee do not tax ordinary wages and income, but do tax some income from dividends and investments.
If your state collects income taxes, it is possible to check the status of your return online. In some states, you can also get information by calling an automated telephone service. Typically, you will need your Social Security number (or other official ID number) and the amount of your return to check the status of your return.
If you expect a refund, you may have to wait as long as a few months in some states. Taxpayers who file electronic returns and choose direct deposit can expect the fastest turnaround times. Filing a paper return or opting for a paper check will delay your return.