Where’s My Tax Refund? How to Check the Status of Your Tax Refund

When you are expecting a tax refund, it is normal to file a little bit early.

The very next thing you say once you file is “where’s my refund?”  We can’t wait to get that money owed to us.

Indeed, many people have already received their tax refunds.

When you get refunded depends on two main factors:

  1. How you filed (mail or e-file)
  2. How you receive your refund (paper check or direct deposit)

If you mail in your tax return and opt to receive your refund in the form of a check from the United States Treasury, it can take as long as two months or more to see your tax rebate.

This is the combination that takes the longest.

Where's my tax refund?

You can speed things up if you decide to e-file when receiving a paper check or to get your tax refund via direct deposit if you mail in your return.

However, it still might take as much as a month to get your tax refund.

In order to get your tax refund in the shortest possible time, you should e-file and opt for direct deposit.  You can get your tax refund in as little as seven days when you do this.

If you are going for speed, the fastest way to get your money is to e-file and get direct deposit.


Checking the Status of Your Refund

The IRS has a handy tool that allows you to easily check the status of your refund.

You should be aware, though, that the tool won’t work if your return isn’t already in the system.  If you mail a paper return to the IRS, it can take more than a week or two to get your return in the system so that you can check the status of your refund.  If you e-file, though, you can look up your refund status after 72 hours.

Here is what you need in order to use the IRS “Where’s My Refund?” feature:

  • Your Social Security Number or your Individual Taxpayer Identification Number
  • Your filing status (single, married filing jointly, married filing separately, head of household, etc.)
  • The whole dollar amount of your refund, as shown as your tax return

Once you fill that information in, you will receive information about whether or not your return was received, and whether or not it is processing.  You will also find out what date your rebate will be deposited into your account, or mailed out to you.

If there has been a problem, such as a mistake in the address, or the bank account number, you can find out about it from this tool.  You will be notified of what you need to do to correct the problem to get your tax refund.  You can even start a refund trace from this tool if you have not received your refund within 28 days of the original mail date listed at “Where’s My Refund?”

Update: The IRS now has a mobile app you can use use on iPhones (available in the Apple App Store) or Android phones (in the Android Marketplace).  It’s called IRS2GO.

I gave the tool a shot to see how well it worked.

I entered my social security number, filing status, and the dollar amount of my expected refund (you do have to enter the actual amount, I tried a different amount and it didn’t work).

As advertised, the date my refund was expected to be deposited was given.  I’m a little disappointed I have to wait a little longer, but I also had to mail in my refund this year in order to take the first-time homebuyer tax credit.

The digital age has made tracking your refund easier than ever, especially if you e-file.  Take advantage of this technology to find out when you will get your refund quickly and easily.

And hey, don’t blow your refund!  Make sure you do something useful with it.

Where's My Tax Refund? How to Check the Status of Your Tax Refund
Article Name
Where's My Tax Refund? How to Check the Status of Your Tax Refund
Where's my tax refund? It's what we ask once we know we're getting a refund. See how you can check the status of your tax refund.
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Published or updated May 7, 2015.


  1. Alan@escapingmydebt says:

    Since I filed through Turbo Tax, I downloaded an app on my iphone. It does not give the exact details but shows the date I sent in the federal and the estimated payment date if getting a refund. This information you listed is good to know.

  2. Jenny @ Frugal Guru Guide says:

    Getting your refund electronically also reduces the chances that someone can intercept it, especially when you submit electronically, as well! There are a lot of scammers out there trying to steal refunds this time of year–security means a lot.

  3. I got my refund in less than 2 weeks. I just checked today and there it was. I was actually shocked because I didn’t even remember and there it was.

  4. Didn’t know about the IRS app – looks great! Thanks for the recommendation.

  5. I did not know they came up with an app that enables you to check on the refund, that’s pretty cool. We just got our refund this morning… a whopping $40. I think we mailed it off about 10 days ago and got it this morning – not too bad.

  6. Good reminder. I’ve been waiting to blow my check. ; ) It seems like it’s taking awhile this year. I’ll have to check that app out.

  7. Would anyone actually know this? My refund was mailed 3-2-15 according to the WMR anyways. Today is 3-30-15 and still no check,,can it possibly take this long or am I freaking out for nothing? I’m just at a loss. Thanks

  8. Nice article Miranda.

    It’s always good information to have, although it seems in the last couple of years the checks are arriving before you know it.

    Thanks for your informative post.

    Laura Beth

  9. Antoinette Jackson says:

    Well I had to do a 1040x In I filed Jan 20,2016 in still haven’t gotten mines my new amount different from what’s on my original refund…In i can’t pull nothing up but the same thing from when I first filed.which is my old amount… My tax prepayer had my amount screwed up in I had to do a 1040x I have an advocate working my case but still I can’t check my new amount because of the old amount…I have no clue as to what or how to check my status

  10. Really up set with the system I filed on the 6th of April an was told on the 27th I would have my refund an now the 4th of May an still no refund. An I owe nothing

  11. Excellent tips and reminder. When the IRS processes your tax return and approves your refund, you can see your actual personalized refund date. Even though the IRS issues most refunds in less than 21 days after they receive your tax return, it’s possible your tax return may require additional review and take longer.

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