Where’s my tax refund? Federal refunds often arrive within 21 days
- The IRS has extended the tax deadline to July 15, 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
- The fastest and safest way to receive your refund is to file your taxes electronically and request direct deposit.
- The IRS typically issues 90% of tax refunds within 21 days of filing, but there could be delays this tax season.
- If you file on or before July 15, the IRS will deliver your tax refund with interest.
- This post has been reviewed for accuracy by Thomas C. Corley, CPA.
- See Business Insider’s picks for the best tax software »
Most people dread filing their taxes, but many hope for a refund.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the IRS pushed the tax-filing and tax payment deadline back 90 days, to July 15.
If you’re expecting to get money back this year, you may be wondering exactly when you will receive your tax refund. Typically the IRS pays out most refunds within 21 days of receiving an electronic tax return, though office closures may have delayed some payouts.
But there’s good news: Your refund may be a little bigger than expected. If you file on or before July 15, the IRS will actually pay you interest on your delayed refund.
Where’s my tax refund?
Filing online and requesting direct deposit is the quickest way to get your federal tax refund, according to the IRS, which issues 90% of refunds within 21 days. Your state refund, however, may take longer.
According to IRS data, over 111 million Americans received federal tax refunds last year, averaging $2,860 per refund. Just over 138 million taxpayers filed electronically and nearly 92 million received their refunds via direct deposit.
Taxpayers can check the status of their tax refund using the IRS’s refund-tracking service within 24 hours of filing a tax return online or within four weeks of mailing a paper return. The IRS updates its system daily, usually overnight.
To check your refund status, you’ll need three things:
- Your Social Security number or individual taxpayer identification number
- Your filing status
- The exact refund amount
When will I get my tax refund?
After the IRS processes your tax return — which typically takes up to three weeks from your filing date — it will deposit your refund in up to three separate bank accounts, as long as they’re held in your name as an individual account or you and your spouse’s name as a joint account.
If you file by the traditional paper-and-pencil method and request your refund as a check, it will generally arrive via snail mail within six weeks of filing. If it doesn’t, an error or incompletion may be holding up the process.
For taxpayers claiming credits, refunds may take longer. The IRS says certain credits, including the Earned Income Tax Credit and the additional Child Tax Credit, cannot be issued until mid-February as a means to protect against identity theft and tax fraud. Those refunds usually become available in early March. It’s unclear how the tax deadline extensions and the coronavirus pandemic will affect this.
Why am I getting a tax refund?
If you’re getting a tax refund, it means you overpaid in taxes throughout the year. When you start a new job, you fill out a W-4 form to let your employer know how much to withhold from each paycheck to cover your tax liability. If too little is withheld, you’ll owe taxes by the tax day deadline, now July 15. If too much was withheld, that money is refunded.
Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Personal Finance Insider team. We occasionally highlight financial products and services that can help you make smarter decisions with your money. We do not give investment advice or encourage you to adopt a certain investment strategy. What you decide to do with your money is up to you. If you take action based on one of our recommendations, we get a small share of the revenue from our commerce partners. This does not influence whether we feature a financial product or service. We operate independently from our advertising sales team.