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Home / Tips and Tricks / When will your tax refund appear? Here are some dates and how to track them

When will your tax refund appear? Here are some dates and how to track them



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We show you how to track your tax refund.

Sarah Tew / CNET

The IRS is now accepting tax returns for 2020Did you know 24 hours after you file your taxes online, you can start tracking your tax refundPlus, the sooner you file your taxes, the sooner you can get your 2020 refund, including missing stimulus check money through the Refund Discount

Set up direct deposit is another way to get your money in your hands faster. Like a third stimulus check has been approved – and here it is third payment term so far – that of your household total incentive payment would be delivered as a refundable tax credit on prepayments (PDF). Additionally, if you earned less in 2020 than the year before, you may may qualify for a larger third stimulus control when you file your taxes before the new payment is approved. (Here’s how.)

This year, the IRS is asking taxpayers not to file paper returns if possible, to avoid the current processing delay being exacerbated by a backlog from last year (remember, the The 2019 tax season has been extended because of the Covid-19 pandemicAlso – and this is important – if you file a paper return, you won’t be able to track your refund for at least four weeks. Below, we’ll show you how to track your 2020 refund after you submit your tax return.

These two IRS tools let you track your refund – here’s how

Before you try to keep track of your tax refund this year, there are several things you should have on hand. Your Social Security Number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), your filing status – for example, single, married, head of household – and your exact refund amount in whole dollars, which you can find on your tax return.

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 SendIf you have entered your details correctly, you will be taken to a page with the status of your refund. 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 how you filed it – electronically or on paper.

There is also a mobile app you can use to check the status of your tax refund called IRS2Go, which is helpful if you are constantly checking when your refund is arriving.

The IRS updates the data in this tool at night every day, so if you don’t see a status change after 24 hours or more, check back the next day.


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The IRS site marks your return in one of two ways

When you look at the status of your tax refund, you will see one of two things.

  • ReceiveThis means that the IRS now has your tax return and is processing it.
  • Approved: This means the IRS has approved your return and your refund is on its way to your bank or letterbox.

How long will it take for your tax refund to reach you?

The IRS says it issues most tax refunds within 21 days, but many will receive those much sooner. The IRS may take longer to send your tax refund if there are errors, or if you have made a claim for an Earned Income Tax Credit or the Child tax creditBut it also depends on how you submitted your tax return.

For example, if the refund is received deposited directly into your bank account, it may take another five days for your bank to credit it to your account. This means that if it took the IRS 21 days to issue your check and your bank five days to post it, you could wait a total of 26 days to receive your money. That’s where tracking your refund comes in handy.

If it’s sent by mail, the IRS says it can take six to eight weeks for it to arrive. Here are some possible dates when you could receive your refund depending on when you signed up.

When to expect your tax refund

If you submit a file on this date This is the fastest This is the last

February 14th

February 21st

7 Mar.

1 Mar.

8 Mar.

22 Mar.

April 1st

April 8

April 22nd

April 15th (last day to submit)

April 22nd

6 May

Oct 15 (last day with extension)

22 Oct.

5 Nov.

Can you call the IRS to check your status?

While you can call the IRS to check your status, the agency’s live phone assistance is extremely limited at this point, so you could 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 on your taxes, here’s when the The deadline for 2021 is to file your tax return how to claim missing incentive money on your taxes and the real reason why you should sign up for direct deposit on your taxes for 2020


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