Finding Out Where Your Federal Tax Refund Is

by Junior Boomer on February 23, 2011

There aren’t too many things better than getting a tax refund. Maybe you have dreams of a tropical vacation to parts unknown, or perhaps you are thinking of a home addition. Your plans might be as simple as paying off some bills or putting money into a savings account. Whatever you plan to do with your federal tax refund, you are probably anxious to find out when you will receive it. You might be excited to know the Internal Revenue Service has a page on it’s website dedicated to helping people track their refunds.

Gather Your Information

Before heading to the IRS website, you need to have some very specific information available. You will need to know your social security number, or the social security number on the return in which the status you are inquiring about is filed under (perhaps your spouse or child). You will also need to know the filing status used on the return (married, single, head of household, etc.). The final piece of information needed is the expected refund amount – rounded to the nearest dollar. A person can gather all of this information right from the tax forms.

Visit the Website

Once you have your information together, you can visit www.irs.gov, and find the “Where’s My Refund” link. This link is located on the right side of the page under the filing and payments heading. Once you click this link you will be taken to an online form and prompted to enter the information mentioned above – social security number, filing status, and anticipated refund amount.

Entering Your Information

If you have entered all of your data correctly, you will be shown a page with the estimated date that you can expect your refund. This date will either be the date that your refund will be direct deposited, if that is the method you selected for your refund, or the date that your refund check will be mailed.

If you enter the information incorrectly or do not know the exact amount of your refund, you will be given a chance to enter some additional information. If you still do not enter the correct data, you will be redirected to a tax information page with phone numbers to call for assistance.

How Soon Can You Check

It takes some time for the IRS to receive and process your income tax forms. If you are an electronic filer, you may be able to check the status of your refund in as little as three days. If you file by mail, it can take as long as a month for information to be available about your refund status.

Exceptions

If you have a refund expected on an amended return, you will not be able to check the status under the “Where’s My Refund” link. Also, if you are filing a return on behalf of a business, that status will not be available either. The “Where’s My Refund” feature is only available for those taxpayers filing personal tax returns. The IRS website has further information for filers of amended and business returns to find out the status of their return, including phone numbers and contact information.

Creative Commons License photo credit: woodleywonderworks

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