Here are five tips to know about “Where’s My Refund?”:
1. Some Refunds Delayed. Beginning in 2017, certain taxpayers will get their refunds later. By law, the IRS cannot issue refunds before February 15 for any tax return claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC). The IRS must hold the entire refund, not just the part related to the EITC or ACTC. The IRS began releasing delayed 2016 EITC and ACTC refunds on February 15.
These refunds likely won’t arrive in bank accounts or on debit cards until the week of February 27. This is true as long as there are no processing issues with the tax return and the taxpayer chose direct deposit. Banking and financial systems need time to process deposits, which can take several days.
Where’s My Refund? will be updated on February 18 for the vast majority of early filers who claimed the Earned Income Tax Credit or Additional Child Tax Credit. Before February 18, some taxpayers may see a projected date or a message that indicates the IRS is processing their return. “Where’s My Refund?” remains the best way to check the status of a refund.
2. Timely Access. Information will normally be available within 24 hours after the IRS receives the taxpayer’s e-filed return, or four weeks for a paper return. The system updates once every 24 hours, usually overnight, so there is no need to check more often.
3. Gather Basic Information. Taxpayers should have their Social Security number, filing status and exact refund amount when using “Where’s My Refund?”. Those without Internet access can call 800-829-1954 anytime, to access the audio version of this tool.
4. What to Expect. “Where’s My Refund?” includes a tracker that displays progress through three stages: Return Received, Refund Approved and Refund Sent. When the IRS processes a tax return and approves the refund, taxpayers can see their expected refund date. Even though the IRS issues most refunds in less than 21 days, tax returns may need further review and take longer.
5. When to Call: Taxpayers should call the IRS to check on a refund only when:
- it has been 21 days or more since they e-filed,
- more than six weeks since the return was mailed,
- the Where’s My Refund? tool directs them to contact IRS.
A tax transcript will not help taxpayers find out when they will get their refund. The IRS notes that the information on a transcript does not necessarily reflect the amount or timing of a refund. While taxpayers can use a transcript to validate past income and tax filing status for mortgage, student and small business loan applications, and to help with tax preparation they should use “Where’s My Refund?” to check the status of their refund.
All taxpayers should keep a copy of their tax return. Beginning in 2017, taxpayers using a software product for the first time may need their Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) amount from their prior-year tax return to verify their identity. Taxpayers can learn more about how to verify their identity and electronically sign tax returns at Validating Your Electronically Filed Tax Return.