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Are you still waiting for your tax refund? You can track it


Did you file your taxes before the May 17 deadline, but still haven’t seen your refund money?

Sarah Tew / CNET

Tax day, May 17, emerges. Some have already filed their 2020 tax returns and need their refund. If you are, try using IRS tools to check status. And if you haven’t filed your taxes yet, you should file your tax return before the deadline or apply for an extension with the IRS.

Whether you sent a paper return or filed by email, there are two tracking tools that will tell you whether your tax return was received, whether the IRS is processing it, or when your refund was deposited into your account or mailed. This tax season will take the IRS a little longer to process paper returns, and there may be other delays that will delay your refund. We’ll show you how to track your refund.

The IRS tools can also help if you claim a missing stimulus payment as a Credit for chargeback discount on your 2020 tax return. If you think you have third stimulus check is missing, the IRS has an app for you follow the status of your payment. Find out more about whether you might need it here file an amended tax form, if you qualify for other COVID-related credits and benefits, and if you have a fourth incentive payment this year. If you have children, you can calculate as follows how much money you could get through tax credits for children. If you became unemployed in 2020, you can get extra money with your refund qualify for a tax break. Here’s also how you can tell if the IRS a tax refund that you must claim. This story is regularly updated.

Can I track my income tax refund?

To track the status of your tax refund, you will need several things: your Social Security Number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, your filing status – single, married, or householder – and your full dollar refund amount, which can be found on your tax return. Also, make sure it’s been at least 24 hours before trying to track your refund.

Using the IRS tool Where’s My Refund, enter your SSN or ITIN, your submission status and your exact refund amount, then press To send. If you have entered your details correctly, you will be taken to a page showing your refund status. If not, you may be asked to verify your personal tax information and try again. If all the information looks correct, you should enter the date you filed your tax, along with whether you filed electronically or on paper.

The IRS also has a mobile app called IRS2Go that checks the status of your tax refund. 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 next day.

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What do the tax return status messages mean?

Both the IRS tools (online and mobile app) show you one of three messages to explain your tax filing 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 owe one.
  • sentYour refund is now on its way to your bank via direct deposit or as a paper check in your mailbox. (Here’s how change your registered address if you have moved.)

How long will it take to get my tax refund?

The IRS usually issues tax refunds within 21 days, and many people get their refund much earlier. This year, however, the IRS is facing delays due to a variety of complications, and some taxpayers are expected to wait longer to receive their payments.

If there are errors, it may take longer for the agency to process and handle your tax refund. The same goes for people who have filed a claim for a payroll tax credit or the child tax credit. (Here is who qualifies for the child discount.)

The date you receive your tax refund also depends on how you filed your tax return. For example with refunds into your bank account via direct deposit, it can take another five days for your bank to credit it to your account. This means that if it took the IRS the full 21 days to issue your check and your bank five days to post it, you will have to wait a total of 26 days to receive your money.

If you filed your tax return in the mail, the IRS says it can 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 if you have submitted or plan to submit an application electronically.

When your tax refund could come, if there is no additional delay

If you submit a file on this date

This is the fastest

This is the last

March 1

8 March

March 22nd

April 1st

April 8

April 22nd

15 of April

April 22nd

6 May

May 17 (last day to submit)

May 24

June 7

October 15 (last day with extension)

Oct 22, 2018

November 5th

Can my tax refund be delayed?

The IRS has a list of reasons why your refund may be delayed.

  • Your tax return contains errors.
  • It is not complete.
  • Your refund has been affected by identity theft or fraud.
  • You have applied for the payroll tax credit or additional child tax credit.
  • Your return should be reviewed.
  • Your tax return includes Form 8379 (PDF), Injured Spouse Assignment – this can take up to 14 weeks to process.

Will the IRS answer telephone questions?

While you can technically call the IRS to check your status, the agency’s live phone assistance is currently extremely limited, so you can be on hold for a while to speak to a representative. The IRS also says you should only call if it has been 21 days or more 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 2020 taxes, here is how to claim missing incentive money about your taxes and everything you need to know about the third stimulus check.

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