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Where is my income tax refund? How to Track Your Tax Filing Status



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The IRS has tools for you to keep an eye on the status of your tax refund.

Sarah Tew / CNET

With Tax Day on May 17 of this year you now have less than two weeks file your tax return for 2020 or apply for an extension with the IRS
. If you have a head start and have already filed but have not yet reclaimed your income tax, you can track the status of your money using two IRS Refund Status tools.

These IRS tools let you know if the IRS received your tax return – either via e-file or paper tax return – whether the agency is processing it and when your refund was sent. The IRS said that due to the pandemic, it is taking longer than usual to process paper returns this tax season. Credit for chargeback discount on your taxes for 2020. If your third stimulus check is still a no show, the agency has a tracker app for you follow the status of that too.

We explain how to use these tools to track and estimate your refund when it will arrive. This is also what we know submitting an amended tax form, COVID related credits and benefits and a possible fourth stimulus control. If you received unemployment benefits in 2020, you could qualify for a tax break and get extra money with your refund. If you have kids, you want to know child tax credit payments, inclusive how much money you could get. Plus, you may qualify for a discount on your internet bill with the FCC. This story was recently updated.

How to track the status of your 2020 income tax refund with the IRS

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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Status messages about the tax return that you may see

Both the IRS tools (online and mobile app) 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 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 address in our database if you have moved.)

Tax Refund Waiting Time: Some may see delays

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 made 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 submit electronically, depending on when you applied.

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

There are several reasons why your tax refund is overdue

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

  • 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 may take up to 14 weeks to process.

Should you contact the IRS if your tax refund is overdue?

While you can technically call the IRS to check your status, the agency’s live phone assistance is extremely limited at this point, 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 on your taxes and everything you need to know about the third stimulus check.


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