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The TurboTax Blog > Tax Refunds > What To Expect When You’re Expecting…a Tax Refund

What To Expect When You’re Expecting…a Tax Refund

Tax Refunds Woman checking her tax refund status on her phone.

Ready for your tax refund? You’re not alone! Close to 75% of taxpayers received a federal direct deposit tax refund close to $3,000 last year!

TurboTax is now accepting tax returns, which means you’re one step closer to receiving your maximum tax refund. When you file, TurboTax will ask you simple questions about you and give you the deductions and credits you’re eligible for based on your entries, so you don’t have to worry about knowing tax laws when you file.

If you have questions, you can even connect live via a one-way video to a TurboTax Live tax expert, available in English and Spanish year-round, who can review, sign, file your return or even prepare your taxes from start to finish.

If you’ve already filed – the IRS began accepting e-filed tax returns on February 12, 2021 – and are wondering what happens next, we have the scoop on what to expect when you’re expecting a federal tax refund:

  1. Start checking status 24 – 48 hours after IRS receives e-file: Once the IRS acknowledges receipt of your e-filed tax return, you can use the IRS Where’s My Refund? tool to track your federal refund status. The tool will show “Return Received” once the IRS has begun processing your return. Keep in mind: you will not see a refund date until the IRS finishes processing and approves your tax refund.
  2. Status change to “Refund Approved”: Once the IRS finishes processing your tax return and confirms your return is approved, your status will change from “Return Received” to “Refund Approved.” Sometimes the change in status can take a few days, but it could take longer – so be sure to check back and remain patient. The IRS will provide a personalized refund date once your status changes to “Refund Approved.” *The IRS expects to issue 9 out of 10 federal tax refunds within 21 days of acceptance if you e-file with direct deposit.
  3. Status change to “Refund Sent”: Once the status in Where’s My Refund? shows “Refund Sent,” the IRS has sent your refund to your financial institution for direct deposit. It can take up to five days for your bank to deposit funds into your account. If you requested that your tax refund be mailed, it could take several weeks for your check to arrive.

E-file with direct deposit is the fastest way to get your refund. If you mailed a paper tax return, due to COVID-19, the IRS expects delays for paper returns. Usually, the IRS says to allow 4 weeks before checking the status of your refund and that refund processing can take 6 to 8 weeks from the date the IRS receives your return. You can find out more information about the refund process and processing times here

So what are you waiting for? File today – and if you have a simple tax return, you can e-file your federal and state tax returns for free with TurboTax Free Edition. And when you file, you don’t have to worry about knowing all of these tax laws — TurboTax will ask you simple questions and give you the tax deductions and credits you are eligible for based on your answers.

If you have more questions, our TurboTax Live tax experts are available in English and Spanish, year-round, and can review, sign, file your tax return — you can even fully hand your taxes over to them all from the comfort of your home with TurboTax Live Full Service.

*The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act, signed into law in December 2015, requires the IRS to hold tax refunds that include Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) until mid-February, but this year the IRS anticipates a first week of March refund for taxpayers with refunds that include EITC and ACTC if they e-file with direct deposit and there are no issues with their tax returns. However, most taxpayers will not be impacted by the change in the law. The IRS expects the earliest EITC/ACTC related refunds to be available in taxpayer bank accounts or on debit cards beginning of March (assuming these taxpayers chose direct deposit and barring any other issues with returns).

Comments (4) Leave your comment

  1. Would like to know why i was charged 129.00 when i filed for free last yr and this yr also but was charged 129.00 i will never use turbo tax again unless this is fixed

  2. I filed with TT in 2016 and u said I was to get $2,200.00 back and I never received a dime nobody has exsplaind why!!!

  3. I filed with TurboTax on 1/8/2016.
    Was told that IRS wouldn’t accept returns until 1/19.

    However I just received an email and text message from TurboTax at 3pm today 1/11/16 stating that the IRS has accepted my return. It also shows acceptance on Where’s My Refund.


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