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The popular Where’s My Refund feature on the IRS website allows you to see the status of your refund after filing your income tax return.

What you should know

  1. Refunds of e-filed returns usually take 10 to 21 days to process. Paper returns take longer than e-filed returns. The IRS states that 90 percent of refunds are processed within this 21-day time period.
  2. Original refund processing projections can change. This can be due to processing backlogs, or errors on your tax return.
  3. Sometimes a delay is a good thing. The IRS acknowledges there is a huge increase in identity fraud as thieves attempt to steal tax withholdings. The IRS is using their data match programs to catch as much of this illegal activity as possible. Because of this, if the IRS is suspicious that there is fraudulent activity, they will hold up processing your refund.

Checking your refund status

In the meantime, if you’d like to check on the status of your refund, visit irs.gov/refunds and click on Check My Refund Status.

When to check

  • 24 hours after an e-filed tax return confirmation is received
  • 4 weeks after a paper-filed tax return is mailed

What you need to provide

  • Social Security number
  • Filing status
  • Exact refund amount

Remember, the information provided to you by the IRS is not a guarantee of payment. So please resist the urge to spend your refund before receiving it. Unfortunately, no amount of calling or checking will change the speed of returning your money. With 150 million tax returns processed each year, sometimes all you can do is wait.