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When Will You Get Your Tax Refund?

When Will You Get Your Tax Refund?
Ines Zemelman, EA
14 February 2019

With the partial government shutdown, a new tax reform law passed, and the different tax forms resulting from it, this tax season most likely will be a little tricky. Despite these changes and obstacles, the IRS says that the tax season will be relatively normal, including the timing of tax refunds.

Based on information published by the IRS, the following chart shows likely dates for the receipt of tax refunds.

If the IRS receives your return on this date

Then your refund should be direct deposited by this date

Then your refund check should be mailed by this date

January 28

February 11

February 15

February 4

February 18

February 22

February 11

February 25

March 1

February 19

March 6

March 13

February 25

March 13

March 20

March 4

March 18

March 22

March 11

March 25

March 29

March 18

April 1

April 5

March 25

April 8

April 12

April 1

April 15

April 19

April 8

April 22

April 26

April 15

April 29

May 8

These dates should be close, but many factors can affect them. According to the IRS, 90% of refunds are processed in under 21 days, although many taxpayers report that less complex returns with no mistakes or other problems usually received them in under 2 weeks.

Also keep in mind that if you claimed either the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC), there is a hold. The IRS is required to wait until the middle of February to start issuing refunds for tax returns where these credits are claimed. This means that these refunds are not likely to be received before February 27th (for direct deposits).

How can I speed up my refund?

The IRS says that the most efficient way to receive your refund is to e-file the return and to have your refund direct deposited. Paper returns and paper checks will always take longer. Normally, paper returns take 4 weeks to process - and this year is likely to be longer.

It is best not to count your refund dollars until you receive them. The IRS operates with stringent requirements for direct deposit. No more than 3 refunds will be deposited in a single bank account, or be applied to prepaid debit cards. Plus, the account must be in the filer’s or their spouse’s name. If there is a problem with direct deposit, the IRS sends you an old-fashioned paper check instead.

How can I check the status of my refund?

If you want to check the status of your refund, start here to see more information on the typical timelines, and links to check your refund status. You will need your Social Security number or taxpayer identification number, your refund amount, and your filing status. This information is updated daily, usually overnight, and should be available within 24 hours of e-filing or 4 weeks after mailing a paper return.

If it has been more than 21 days since you e-filed, or 6 weeks since sending a paper return, and you have not received your expected refund, there may be an issue with your return. Perhaps you made an error, the IRS flagged it for review, or it may be the case that you have been the victim of identity theft. The IRS will send a letter if they need more information, or you can call the IRS to check. If you choose to call, remember that wait times can be quite long.

Ines Zemelman, EA
founder of Taxes for Expats