IRS advices use of refund tool


The Internal Revenue Service has reminded taxpayers they can get fast answers to their refund questions by using the “Where’s My Refund?” tool available on IRS.gov and through the IRS2Go app.

The IRS issues nine out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days, and the fastest way to get a refund is to file electronically and choose direct deposit.

The question most frequently asked during telephone calls to the IRS this time of year is, “Where’s my refund?”. The IRS reminds taxpayers that IRS customer service representatives can only research a refund’s status if it has been 21 days or more since the taxpayer filed electronically or six weeks since they mailed a paper return.

Taxpayers can get a personalized answer by using the “Where’s My Refund?” tool. All that is needed is the taxpayer’s Social Security number, tax filing status and exact amount of the tax refund claimed on the return. Alternatively, taxpayers may call 800-829-1954 for the automated phone line, which provides the same information.

Within 24 hours of filing a return electronically, the tool can tell taxpayers that their returns have been received. That time extends to four weeks if a paper return is mailed to the IRS, which is another reason to file electronically and choose direct deposit.

Once the tax return is processed, “Where’s My Refund?” will tell a taxpayer when their refund is approved and provide a date when they can expect to receive it. “Where’s My Refund?” is updated no more than once every 24 hours, usually overnight, so taxpayers don’t need to check the status more often.

While the IRS still expects to issue more than nine out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days, it’s possible a particular tax return may require additional review and a refund could take longer. Many different factors can affect the timing of a refund. And, remember to take into consideration that many banks do not process payments on weekends or holidays and it can take time for a financial institution to post the refund to a taxpayer’s account or to receive it by mail.