Tax Refund Status

March 4, 2010

How can you check on your IRS tax refund after you’ve filed your taxes and are waiting to get money back?  Below is a tax refund schedule from TaxACT that shows an approximation of when your refund check should be mailed or direct deposit put into your bank account based on the date range that you filed your taxes.

Federal Income Taxes FiledDirect Deposit
Tax Refund Sent
Tax Refund Check Mailed
Jan 15 and Jan 21, 2010 29-Jan-105-Feb-10
Jan 21 and Jan 28, 2010 5-Feb-1012-Feb-10
Jan 28 and Feb 4, 2010 12-Feb-1019-Feb-10
Feb 4 and Feb 11, 2010 19-Feb-1026-Feb-10
Feb 11 and Feb 18, 2010 26-Feb-105-Mar-10
Feb 18 and Feb 25, 2010 5-Mar-1012-Mar-10
Feb 25 and Mar 4, 2010 12-Mar-1019-Mar-10
Mar 4 and Mar 11, 2010 19-Mar-1026-Mar-10
Mar 11 and Mar 18, 2010 26-Mar-102-Apr-10
Mar 18 and Mar 25, 2010 2-Apr-109-Apr-10
Mar 25 and Apr 1, 2010 9-Apr-1016-Apr-10
Apr 1 and Apr 8, 2010 16-Apr-1023-Apr-10
Apr 8 and Apr 15, 2010 23-Apr-1030-Apr-10
Apr 15 and Apr 22, 2010 30-Apr-107-May-10
Apr 22 and Apr 29, 2010 7-May-1014-May-10
Apr 29 and May 6, 2010 14-May-1021-May-10

Where is Your Tax Refund?

There are two ways to get your tax refund, through direct deposit or as a paper check in the mail.  As you can see from the table above, you’ll get your refund much faster if you eFile and choose the direct deposit option.

Here are the general time frames that it takes for you to get your refund once the IRS recieves your tax return:

  • Paper File – 6 Weeks
  • eFile – 3 Weeks
  • Amended Returns – 8 to 12 Weeks

If your refund is taking longer than expected it could be because you made a mis-calculation while computing figures on your tax form and that you may get less back than you’d expected or nothing at all.  Or you might have made an error on your tax return such as accidentally switching digits in your social security number or some other typo.

So how do you know if there was a problem with your return or if it’s just taking awhile to get your refund back? The IRS has a number of ways that you can check on the status of your tax refund.

Tracking Your Tax Refund

IRS Website

Regardless of whether you filed electronically or not, you can use the IRS website to check the status of your refund.  The IRS has a tool called Where’s My Refund? that asks for your social security number, filing status, and the refund amount from your tax return.

If your refund has already been sent, you’ll get back the date it was mailed or deposited into your account.  If it hasn’t then the IRS will basically just tell you that they got return and are still working on it.  If they already tried to mail you the refund but it came back undeliverable they’ll indicate that as well.

If the Where’s My Refund tool doesn’t recognize the information you enter, it’ll then ask you for the specific date you filed and whether it was a paper or electronic filing.  If they still can’t find your information the Where’s My Refund tool will give you a reference number and ask you to call them at 1-800-829-0582, extension 362.

The IRS suggests that you wait to use Where’s My Refund at least 72 hours after electronic filing or 3 weeks after paper filing.  You can try it earlier but chances are your return is still being processed and won’t have status information to report.

IRS Phone Number

If you don’t have access to the Internet, you can also check the status of your tax refund by phone at one of the two numbers:

  • IRS Refund Hotline: 1–800-829-1954
  • IRS TeleTax System: 1–800-829-4477

Are Tax Refunds Taxable Income?

If you got a tax refund last year, will it be taxed this year?  The answer, as is the case with most personal finance questions, is that it depends. If you recieved a federal refund it’s not considered taxable income on your federal tax return.

However, if you itemized your deductions on your federal return and claimed a deduction for state and local taxes last year, then you may have to pay taxes on a portion of that refund.  There will be a tax refund worksheet as part of your tax form 1040 that helps you determine the how much of your state tax refund is taxable. The good news is that if didn’t itemize and you claimed the standard deduction on your federal tax return last year, your state tax refund is not taxable.


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Ben Edwards, the founder of Money Smart Life, saved up enough to buy a Nintendo back when he was 12 years old. When he used the money to buy shares of Wal-Mart stock instead, he knew he wasn't like the other kids... His addiction to personal finance has paid off for his family and now he's helping you to afford the life that you want. Check him out on the web at Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.

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