is less than a month away, and if you haven’t filed your taxes yet, now’s the time to do it. If you’ve already filed, you’re probably curious about your status. If you’re not sure how to track updates, there are two helpful tools you can use. They also work for of your and “ .”
Both tools can let you know whether the IRS received your tax return, when your refund was sent and if it’s yet to be processed. This is especially helpful if you’re waiting on missing stimulus money you claimed as a.
We’ll show you how to track down your refund and when to expect it. If you have kids, you’ll want to know about, including you’ll get. Here’s what we know about a , who needs to and . This story was recently updated.
How to track your 2020 tax refund step by step
You need several things on hand to track the status of your tax refund: your Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, filing status — single, married or head of household — and exact refund amount in whole dollars, which can be found on your tax return. Also, make sure it’s been at least 24 hours before you try tracking your refund.
Using the IRS tool Where’s My Refund, enter your Social Security number or ITIN, your filing status and your exact refund amount, then press Send. If you entered your information correctly, you’ll be taken to a page that shows your refund status. If not, you may be asked to verify your personal tax data and try again. If all the information looks correct, you’ll need to enter the date you filed your taxes, along with whether you filed electronically or on paper.
There’s also a mobile app, called IRS2Go, that checks your tax refund status. The IRS updates the data in this tool overnight, so if you don’t see a status change after 24 hours or more, check back the following day.
Tax refund wait time
The IRS says it issues most tax refunds within 21 days, but many people get their refunds much sooner. However, this year, the IRS is reportedly facing delays complicated by the fact that it had to at the same time (here’s more on ). But now that most stimulus payments have been made, the IRS should be switching gears to processing tax returns.
If there are any errors, it might take the agency longer to process and issue your tax refund. The same goes for people who filed a claim for an earned income tax credit or the(here’s ).
When your tax refund could arrive, if no additional delay
|If you file or filed on this date||This is the soonest||This is the latest|
|March 1||March 8||March 22|
|April 1||April 8||April 22|
|April 15||April 22||May 6|
|May 17 (last day to file)||May 24||June 7|
|Oct. 15 (last day with extension)||Oct. 22||Nov. 5|
The date you get your tax refund also depends on how you filed your return. For example, with refunds going, it could take an additional five days for your bank to post it to your account. This means if it took the IRS the full 21 days to issue your check and your bank five days to post it, you may be waiting a total of 26 days to get your money.
If you submit your tax return by mail, the IRS says it could take six to eight weeks for your tax refund to arrive. That’s where tracking your refund comes in handy. Here are some possible dates when you could receive your refund, depending on when you filed.
What your tax return status message actually means
Both the IRS tools (online and mobile) will show you one of three messages to explain your tax return status.
- Received: The IRS now has your tax return and is working to process it.
- Approved: The IRS has processed your return and confirmed the amount of your refund, if you’re owed one.
- Sent: Your refund is now on its way to your bank via direct deposit or as a paper check to your mailbox. (Here’s how to .)
Here’s a few reasons your tax refund hasn’t arrived yet
The IRS has a list of reasons that your refund could potentially be held up.
- Your tax return has errors.
- It’s incomplete.
- Your refund has been affected by identity theft or fraud.
- You filed for the earned income tax credit or additional child tax credit.
- Your return needs further review.
- Your return includes Form 8379 (PDF), injured spouse allocation — this could take 14 weeks to process.
Should you contact the IRS if your tax refund date is overdue?
While you can technically call the IRS to check your status, the agency’s live phone assistance is extremely limited at this time, so you may wait on hold for a while to speak to a representative. Also, the IRS says you should only call if it’s been 21 or more days since you filed your taxes online, or if the Where’s My Refund tool tells you to contact the IRS.
For more information about your, here’s and everything to know about the .