Where’s My Tax Refund? How to Check Your Refund Status

Tax Refunds stocksy_txp9442ebb75cl100_medium_1277410

This post can be found en Español here.

With refund season well underway and the average tax refund being close to $2,800 last tax season, we are hearing the common tax season question: “Where’s My Refund?”

We know that you work hard for your money and often a tax refund may be the biggest check you get all year, so we’re here to let you know what happens after you hit the e-file button and how to check the status of your tax refund.

Here is a breakdown of IRS processing times, how your tax return will progress through 3 stages with the IRS (“Return Received”, “Return Approved”, and “Refund Sent” once you e-file), and where you can go to check your refund status.

Refund Processing Time

  • E-filed tax returns with direct deposit – E-file with direct deposit is the fastest way to get your federal tax refund. The IRS states that 9 out of 10 e-filed tax returns with direct deposit will be processed within 21 days of IRS e-file acceptance.
  • Mailed paper returns – Refund processing time is 6 to 8 weeks from the date the IRS receives your tax return.

Refund Process

  1. Start checking status 24 – 48 hours after e-file – Once you have e-filed your tax return, you can check status using IRS Where’s My Refund? You will not be able to start checking the status of your tax refund for 4 weeks if you mail a paper tax return.
  2. Return Received Notice within 24 – 48 hours after e-file – The IRS Where’s My Refund tool will show “Return Received” status once they begin processing your tax return.  You will not see a refund date until the IRS finishes processing your tax return and approves your tax refund.
  3. Status change from “Return Received” to “Refund Approved” – Once the IRS finishes processing your tax return and confirms your tax refund 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 and a date will not be provided in Where’s My Refund? until your tax return is processed and your tax refund is approved.
  4. Where’s My Refund? tool shows refund date – The IRS will provide a personalized refund date once your status moves to “Refund Approved”. The IRS issues 9 out of 10 refunds within 21 days of acceptance if you e-file with direct deposit.
  5. Where’s My Refund? shows “Refund Sent” – If the status in Where’s My Refund? shows “Refund Sent”, the IRS has sent your tax refund to your financial institution for direct deposit. It can take 1 to 5 days for your financial institution 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.

Here are more answers to your common tax refund questions:

Will I see a date right away when I check status in “Where’s My Refund”? 

Where’s My Refund tool will not give you a date until your tax return is received, processed, and your tax refund is approved by the IRS.

It’s been longer than 21 days since the IRS has received my tax return and I have not received my tax refund.  What’s happening?

Some tax returns take longer than others to process depending on your tax situation. Some of the reasons it may take longer are incomplete information, an error, or the IRS needs to review it further.

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 February 15, 2017 regardless of what method you used to file your taxes.  The IRS began accepting and processing tax returns when they opened for the season on January 23, 2017. Tax refunds for those who claim Earned Income Tax Credit or Additional Child Tax Credit will begin to be issued on February 15, 2017, so there’s no need to wait! The sooner you e-file your return, the sooner you’ll get your tax refund. According to the IRS, taxpayers who claim the EITC or ACTC will likely see refunds the week of February 27.

I requested my money be automatically deposited into my bank account, but I was mailed a check. What happened?

The IRS is limiting the number of direct deposits that go into a single bank account or prepaid debit card to three tax refunds per year. Your limit may have been exceeded.

Haven’t filed your taxes yet? Get that much closer to your tax refund and file today. You may even be able to e-file your federal and state tax returns for absolutely nothing and have your federal tax refund in your pocket within 21 days.

Comments (1,412) Leave your comment

  1. Hi lisa my name is jessica. I filed my taxes on February 9,2016 and i am still waiting on my taxes to get here and i filed them electronically and had them direct deposit and i ended up looking to see when they would be accepted and it tells me there is a past due obligation but i dont know what past due obligation i would have. Please help me i have been waiting for 5 months now on them to send me my refund it would be nice to finally have it. It would help my family out so much.

    1. Hi Jessica,
      It sound like the IRS is showing that you owe some type of tax debt or a state obligation, which they would offset with your tax refund. You should receive a notice of any offsets if that is the case. Since it has been a while I would call the IRS to see where your tax refund is and exactly what is meant by a past due obligation.

      Thank you,
      Lisa Greene-Lewis

  2. I filed in feb it said accepted by the irs then they sent me a form to prove my identity sent in all the paperwork 8 weeks ago. Three weeks ago the wmr website said they have recieved my tax return and it is proccessing how long till i should get a refund date

  3. Hello lisa , I’m 32 married to my husband who is 71 and we have a son who just turned 2. I joined my husband in the USA about 4 years ago and since he has much much more experience than me he files the taxes jointly but doesn’t involve me . I’m not working since I’m staying home now to take care of our baby . However he doesn’t disclose any thing to me and anytime I ask him about tax returns expecially after the baby came cos we there were so many things we needed for the baby then , and I also heard babies gets some kid of benefits , he tells me well for him he didn’t get anything in return . Anytime we need money for something he tells us how he is not having the funds now and we have to wait for him to raise some funds and that make me wonder . He is the only one with the key to the mailbox and so even if letters from the IRS comes I won’t see them .. I literally don’t have any idea about what is going on. And I want to find out if there’s a way I can find out our tax details without him knowing since He files for jointly with me -Just to be sure if he’s being honest. My husband has this personality of not talking about anything to anyone and doesn’t share his problems with anyone . so I won’t get any answers from him different from what he has already given me .

  4. Oh, Lisa, I hope you can help me. My husband passed away on 21 Jan 2017. I filed our income tax via Turbo tax and sent it electronically in Feb to the IRA. Because I didn’t get the refund for so long I checked with the IRS where is my refund and was told that they didn’t know how to make out the refund because my husband had passed away. I am still waiting for the refund. Surely this isn’t the first time that one of the married partners died during that time frame. What should I do to get my refund.

    1. Hi,
      Sorry about your loss. You should be able to claim the refund by filling out and mailing in IRS Form 1310, Statement of a Person Claiming a Refund Due a Deceased Taxpayer if they did not tell you to fill out that form already.
      Thank you,
      Lisa Greene-Lewis

  5. I filed taxes this tax season for 2014, 2015 by mail and 2016 I e-filed. I am to get refunds for 2014 and 2015 but payed out for 2016 with direct withdrawal. I received a letter from the IRS a month ago stating they could not direct deposit my 2014 refund and if I didn’t receive a check in the mail in 4 weeks to call them. ( I found the letter odd because I had already received my 2014 refund). I waited and called after 4 weeks and found out they listed/filed my 2015 tax form as a 2016 filing. I reviewed with them my 2015 tax form and numbers so they had the right 2015 information. Now I was told that someone would call me back in a month about this. I was counting on that money for a trip and am wondering why I have to wait so long for them to get back to me and correct their mistake? I find it hard to believe that this kind of error could occur.

  6. This entire process has been horrible for me. I had been banned from eic for 2 years (2012/2014) 2016 was my first year filing since then. I assumed after 3 years the ban wouldn’t be an issue WRONG. So I ended up having to mail my return along with form 8862 I sent it off March 3rd only to get it back March 24 because I forgot to sign the darn thing. The date stamped as the receive date was March 16, 2017 and if I got it back to them promptly it advoids further delay so I mailed it back the same day.The first day I was able to find it on WMR was April 11th I had just the 1 bar that they had received my taxes. On April 14th the bar disappeared and I got the generic message that my refund was still being processed. On April 20th just the 1 bar was back but that it’s been received so I called and was told it was processed on April 19th and that my 6-8 weeks starts from then even though the request for signiture form states to mail it back quicly to advoid further delays. So technically I guess it’s only been 6 days huhhhh. No transcript is available and I know I owe them 1300.00 from a previous tax year but does anyone have any advice for me will it really be another 6-8 weeks??

    1. Hi Erin,
      I would go by what the representative told you, but if you owe from a previous year the IRS will offset your refund with the $1,300 you owe.

      Thank you,
      Lisa Greene-Lewis

  7. hi I file my tax return on March 1st 2017 have not heard or gotten any emails I did do direct deposit but still no news what am I to do i did print out my tax info inwhich I did off turbo tax please need help

    1. Hi Natasha,
      Mailed returns can take 6 to 8 weeks to process unlike taxes that are e-filed with direct deposit so I would wait until 6 to 8 weeks from when you sent your tax return to call the IRS. Once you are within that time frame you can call the IRS ti check status.
      Thank you,
      Lisa Greene-Lewis

  8. So this year I had filed my Federal tax Return on 1/28/2017 and it was accepted immediately, then received on that following Monday. Then on the WMR site, it says that I had to wait until 2/15/2017 for them to approve my Refunds since I had claimed my child and so on, after that it said that I will receive my Direct Deposit on 2/22/2017 and that it was sent on that date, but do to an error I made with the account number my DD was rejected and sent back to the IRS.

    They then reset the 3 bars and my status states that due them not being able to direct deposit my refunds with my bank, on 2/26/2017 they had set a date for me to have my check mailed out on 3/6/2017.. they told me that I should contact them if I do not receive my refunds by 4/3/2017.

    So my has now been shipped on 3/6/2017 and I received it today by mail on 3/9/2017.

    So it took the check from the day it was mailed out to the day I received my refund by mail, approximately 3 days.

    Woohoo I’m so excited that I didn’t have to wait any longer, since I had already messed up!

  9. I am waiting for my refund. My taxes were done Jan 29 and still haven’t received my refund. Sheila

  10. i filed my taxes in early jan and it was accepted a week later and wmr says its being processed why is that my daughter filed after me and got a date foryesterday hers said it was sent today .

    1. I have done my taxes since 2005 with turbo tax and this is the first year that i had my return the 24th of February. past years the earliest i had my return send to me was first week of may
      Im glad this year was a really good one

  11. After you E-File and the IRS accepts it from Turbo Tax, it is out of Turbo Taxes hands so don’t blame TurboTax for any delays people. It is all in the hands of the IRS.

  12. IRS is doing good this year. I e-filed on Feb 20 and it was accepted Feb 20. Checked my IRS refund status this morning and it was already approved and will be deposited on Feb 28. Definitely the quickest refund I have ever heard of. Good luck people.

  13. I e-filed my taxes on Jan 30, 2016. I have not received confirmation from either the State or Federal. I have been with Turbo tax for a lot of years and this is the first time it has happened. What’s the problem?

  14. I did my taxes towards the end of January and I still haven’t seen my state refund and on turbo taxes website it says incomplete under my state fed under but it doesn’t appear like I need to do anything. I would just like to make sure I didn’t it right or if there is anything else I should be doing. I already received my Federal refund. Maybe I just need to be more patient…?

    1. Hi Kristina,
      You should have received a confirmation that your state return was successfully E-filed. If so, you can check with your state department of revenue.
      Thank you,
      Lisa Greene-Lewis

      1. How is it that I filed with turbo tax and I have to mail them in? Then I ask to refund my money and I got no response! I took and had a second person do them and I had a $1000 less return! What is up with that? Should I still mail in this form?

      2. Hi,
        I’m not sure why you are required to mail them in, but if the other person did not file your taxes and you still want to file with TurboTax you can mail them in. Do you know why you couldn’t e-file?
        Thank you,
        Lisa Greene-Lewis

    1. Hi Glenn,
      There could be instances where your return was adjusted or you owed previous state income taxes and they were offset. You should receive a notice from you State Department of Revenue.
      Thank you,
      Lisa Greene-Lewis

  15. I didn’t my taxes on January 28. Now it says my refund won’t be in my account until the Feb 27. Do you think it can come earlier

  16. Hi my name is amber thought I would b nice and spread the word I did my taxes with turbo tax and had it direct deposited to a netspend card and my date on the irs website wasn’t until the 23rd of February and I checked my netspend online account last night on February 20th after 9:00 and my money was on my card I don’t remember the website but my mother showed that the bank or whatever it is that the irs uses to put the money into ppls accounts started passing out refunds as of 9:00 in the evening on February 20th and that is 9 Florida time so I hope the best for u rest that your money is on good luck and good night

  17. I filed my taxes on Jan 23, 2017 and I have not received neither my State or my Federal return. They both were except on the 24th of Jan is there a reason why

  18. I filed and was accepted Jan 23rd…tried to order account transcript on the 28th..it came and was all 0’s. Tried to order return transcripts but it wasnt available. Tried again on the 8th of feb to order return and was successful. That came today but had all zeros….anybody had experience with that? I filed eic and actc.

  19. Filled 01/30/16 was accepted the same day around 4pm. Still says processing, my sister filled the same day as me and got her refund this morning. I hope theres nothing wrong with mine

    1. When I check the where’s my refund on it’s.gov there are no bars it only says we received your refund and it is being processed. Does anyone know why? Or a phone number I can call and speak to someone at the IRS it’s been over the 21 days and I set it up for direct deposit!

      1. I am wondering the same thing! That same thing has happened to me now! What ended up happening with yours?

  20. I efiled with turbo tax when I checked it said refund approved that was a week ago I filed Jan 19th did direct deposit still nothing this is my first time using turbo tax and it will be my last people that have filed after me have already gotten refund

    1. Please remember that once it is accepted it is in the government’s hands not the processor you filed through. There are reported slow-downs for people who are eligible for earned income credit,

  21. This is a reply to most of you because you guys are all asking the same questions. I hope this helps you guys out.

    Keep in mind that when u check ur status on (www.irs.gov) they update it only once a week on Wednesday’s. U can also search on google “2016 IRS refund cycle chart” and that will tell u (an estimate) on when they will send u ur tax return.

  22. I filed and was accepted on Jan.27,2016. My WMR is still saying bring processed and today is Feb.9, 2016. Why hasn’t it changed yet????

  23. I filled January 28 n I still haven’t heard anything. Everyone I know that did not go through turbo are receiving theirs. What’s really going on??

  24. I filed my taxes the 26th and got accepted the same day but have heard nothing else im thinking something is wro ng peopme i know have got theres.. Can someone help me

  25. i filed my taxes using turbo tax and i did it on febuary 5 and i havent recived nothing yet, it says i got approved tho but nothing yet

    1. Well 90% of people that I’ve read from an heard from have been waiting longer then just 4 days. I can’t tell you how many ppl were accepted on the 19th-21st an still have nothing but the one bar. I personally was accepted on the 22nd an have only received the one bar saying accepted so far. Just a heads up if the bars dissappear completely that means your being further reviewed, an will most likely take 4-6 weeks after the first 21 days are up. That happened to me last year, an year before. There are a lot of people who are just as upset with how refunds are going as your are. I’d wait more then 4 days to start to worry though. Once you start pushing 15 days then you might have a problem. Personally I’m kind of sick of it being so easy for the irs to take my money, yet give us no answers as to why it’s taking so long to receive are money back. I’ve had same job, kids,address for 5 years an the last 3 years there has been a holdup. I waited 4-6 weeks after my 21 days for 3 years in a row now, looks like going on 4 years at this rate. When I call them after the 21 days they say there is nothing wrong, just that it’s being reviewed by a person. When review by a person they go in order received. Which I personally think is just a line they tell us because there systems are having a hard time keeping up. Good luck to everyone hope you all get the money that is yours in a timely matter. Meanwhile I’ll just sit here an count down the days like I do every year.

      1. Accepted Jan 17th. Turbot tax says refund recvd between feb 10-13. IRS.gov says still being processed. I called IRS feb 14 the rep asked several questions re: my 2015 tax return and basic verification questions then put me on hold then says mine being reviewed further due to premium tax credit (ACÁ) and it could take 6 more weeks from feb 13th! WTH! It’s the first year I’ve been on Obamacare so they’re reviewing to see if I’m eligible for that credit. I filed single no kids!

  26. I got my email saying I was accepted on January 19th. Still have not recieved my refund. Its now 2-5-16 and still nothing is anyone else having this problem. I used turbo tax.

  27. I filed the 27 and received an email saying I was accepted but I didn’t get my refund today and now online it says it was only received. Not accepted. What’s happening ?

  28. I filed on the 19th of January, and in 24 hours, said they had received my return. Nothing has changed since that day. I know it says up to 21 days since submitting, but why am I not getting any notification updates?

    1. I had that same problem on the website and app. I had to call the Where’s My Refund hotline to get an update. 1-800-829-1954

  29. I filed January 14,2016 it was accepted on January 19,2016 and still have not got it is this just happening to people who filed with TurboTax this is crazy I used TurboTax last year and got my refund fast or is this just happening to people that filed early.

    1. It’s happening to every one, I used H&R block an I’m in same situation. My buddy used the one at irs website to file an is in same situation. It’s just a waiting game it seems.

  30. I filed on January 20th and still in process I am hoping this wont be like last year where I didn’t get the refund until April

  31. I filed January 22, got accepted January second.. It’s now feb 2 and I’m stressing that I won’t have my refund soon? Today it’s Tuesday could I possibly have my return by Friday? I’m looking at the direct deposite dates and I’m not sure if it goes off the day I was accepted or the day I was approved? Any help, I e filed on turbo tax

    1. Rachel,
      Mine were e-filed using TurboTax the same time and were accepted but still not approved. It will give you an exact direct deposit date on wheres my refund. I read an article a few weeks ago that said if you file before January 31 that it will be direct deposited on February 12th (Federal). As for state you should be able to check it on the state website now for a return status. Hope this helps!

      1. I filed on the 19th and so far, I’m still at the processing stage, but my friend filed on 23 and got hers on the 29th

      2. Have not gotten accepted yet, filed on the 20th of January. Don’t understand got my refund within 8 days last year

    2. Go to “get transcript” If 2015 appears in the drop down window it’ s a good sign. This happens before bars move.

    3. Did you turn in your 1095-A form with your taxes because I didn’t and that was the hold up, That’s if you had health insurance, I had to fax it in, if you had health insurance and didn’t turn it in it will not move and they will not process it!

      1. I didn’t send out the form and it said that my check was deposit on February 10, I went to the bank and my money wasn’t there…I want to know why

      2. Hi Rose —

        Banks are required to deposit within 24-48 hours of receipt from the IRS. If you do not have your deposit on Monday, February 15, I suggest you contact the bank first and then the IRS to confirm exactly when and where the deposit was sent.

        — Joanna

    4. I read yesterday that the wmr is not working properly and it has not been updated since last Wed. I filed the 22nd and still have not heard anything about it. Everything I have read about anything being filed before the 24th it will be deposited on Feb 5th. Not sure where you read that it was the 12th though. Either way wmr is not working right and it’s not updating there’s been 2 yrs now where it still said processing and I’ve gotten my return before it ever updated.

    5. i filed on Jan. 23rd (A Saturday) Mine is still saying “RETURN RECEIVED” it doesn’t even say “RETURN APPROVED”. I’m hoping to get mine by Feb. 5th… but last year I didn’t receive my direct deposit until February 10th. Does yours say “RETURN APPROVED” YET on the IRS.GOV website??

      1. The IRS doesnt work on the weekends plus the IRS only updates our statues once a week on Wednesday’s @ http://www.irs.gov

        U can also search on google “2016 IRS refund cycle chart” and that will tell u (an estimate) on when they will send u ur tax return.

      1. Hi.i haven’t received my federal tax yet.i filed Feb.13 2017 they sent me the form back due to i signed my name in the wrong spot had to sign where it said Sign Here and i sent it back on the 16th of March after it was mailed back to me.still no refund.but i have been calling every2wks.and they said it’s been received and it’s processing.yesterday i called and they said that they we’re having some kind of system code.could u please tell me what’s going on with my federal tax refund..Thank u

  32. What does it mean when the refund tool says that it cannot give you any information on your refund status?

  33. I filed the last week off January and it is now June 30th and I still have not received my state check. And I don’t know how to check on it. Does anyone have any info or know if I will be Recieving it soon

  34. I filed in January. As of today’s date, June 29, 2015, I still have not seen my refund nor have I received any information other than “still processing return”. Hopefully, my refund will accrue tha same penalties and interest I would be charged if I didn’t file on time. That is said “tongue in cheek”!

  35. I filed in early April this yr. I got the letter saying it would be sent via mail but 4-6 weeks later , still nothing. Also when I try to log in to check my status it says I don’t have the right info. I think I know my own social security number n how much I am supposed to get back

  36. Filed via turbo tax for last 9 years, this has never happened to me. Filed before Jan 31. Got letter from IRS to verify identity, did that around mid January. It is now JUNE 12 and “STILL PROCESSING” are you kidding me? Also not able to reach a live person. This is crazy. Is there anything I can do? I also too wonder why this happened and nothing like this before with Turbo Tax. Luckily I didn’t “need” my refund, but wow, how much longer is this going to take? I cannot believe it is almost MID JUNE

  37. I filed in February and have gotten 2 letters from the IRS saying that they are still processing. I have yet to get my money and I’ve been waiting all this time. I thought this would have been a simpler process. Never again!

  38. I FILED JANUARY! I recieved notification that the Irs recieved my tax information January 29th. It has been 11 weeks since then. Well over 21 days for an electronic filling and still well over 6-8 weeks. Checking the stupid where’s my refund is ridiculous for it provides no true insight as to what is really going on. Im sick of articles like these spewing the same robotic information.

  39. I’ve been. Waiting since Feb. 10th,. No response still processing. Everytime I call the calls are disconnected, technical difficulty, eg. I. Have never been able to talk to a live agent. Today is April 15. I called 1800-829-0582 ext 652, I was on hold then the call cuts off. I will keep trying.

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