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When will the tax authorities return my income tax? How to track your money


It shouldn’t take too much detective work to find the money the tax authorities owe you. We can help.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Woke up this morning wondering where your tax refund money is? If you May 17 tax return deadline (now only two days away) and submitted your tax return for 2020, you may still be waiting for your money to arrive. If you need an update on your tax refund status, you can use the IRS tracker tools.

Refund delays are common this year, so there are a number of reasons you may not have received yours yet – for example, if you filed a paper tax return in the mail or if the IRS does additional calculations because you qualify for a Credit for chargeback discount. The IRS’s two online tools tell you if your tax return has been received, if the IRS is processing it, or when your refund has been sent or electronically deposited into your bank account. We’ll help you determine exactly how to track your refund. And if filing your taxes is still on your to-do list, you should file your tax return or apply for an extension with the IRS before Monday.

There are other ways that IRS tools can be helpful, such as if you claim a missing stimulus payment as one Credit for chargeback discount on your 2020 tax return. Or, if you think your third stimulus check is missing, the IRS has an app you can use 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 might have one 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. Here’s how you can tell if the IRS a tax refund that you must claim. And if you became unemployed in 2020, your refund will allow you to get extra money if you do qualify for a tax break. This story is regularly updated.

Why is the IRS doing more to process tax returns this year?

Because of the pandemic last year, the IRS ran with a limited capacity, reducing the ability to file tax returns as well send incentive checks. The IRS is now open again, processing mail, tax returns, payments, refunds and correspondence, the agency said, but the pandemic continues to delay some services.

The IRS said it currently makes most repayments in less than 21 days, but some take longer, including paper tax returns in the mail. The IRS said it also takes longer than 21 days to issue refunds for some 2020 tax returns that need to be revised, as determined Credit for chargeback discount amounts for the first and second incentive check or calculating the income tax credit and additional child discount amounts.

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How can I check the status of 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.

When can I expect my IRS refund?

The IRS usually issues tax refunds within 21 days, and many people get their refund much earlier. This year, as the IRS faces complications, it is expected that some taxpayers with longer wait times will have to wait 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 electronic application.

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

Why 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.

Can I call the IRS with my tax 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.

What do these refund 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.)

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