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

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The average direct deposit tax refund was over $3,000 last tax season, and with tax season now over, it’s no surprise that the most common tax season-related question we’re now hearing is: “Where’s My Refund?”

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

The IRS issues all tax refunds — TurboTax does not issue the actual refund. If you have an IRS acknowledgment, then they are processing the return. Here is a breakdown of IRS processing times, how your tax return will progress through the three (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 nine out of 10 e-filed tax returns with direct deposit will be processed within 21 days of IRS e-file acceptance.
  • Mailed paper returns: If you filed a paper return, please allow 4 weeks before checking the status. Refund processing time is 6 to 8 weeks from the date the IRS receives your tax return.

Refund Process

  • Start checking status 24 – 48 hours after e-file: Once you have e-filed your tax return, you can check your 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. Please note you will need the following information when checking on your refund status: Social security number or ITIN, your filing status and your exact refund amount.
  • 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 need the following information when checking refund status: Social security number or ITIN, your filing status and your exact federal tax refund amount shown on the tax return. You will not see a tax refund date until the IRS finishes processing your tax return and approves your tax refund.
  • 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.” While the change in status can take a few days, it could also take longer, and a refund date will not be provided in Where’s My Refund? until your tax return is processed and your tax refund is approved.
  • 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 nine out of 10 refunds within 21 days of acceptance if you e-file with direct deposit.
  • 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 opted to receive your tax refund via mail, it could take several weeks for your check to arrive.

Here are more answers to some common tax refund questions:

Will I see a date right away when I check the 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 include incomplete information, an error, or the IRS may need to review it further.

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 free with TurboTax Free Edition and have your federal tax refund in your pocket within 21 days.

Don’t worry about knowing tax laws. TurboTax will ask simple questions about you and your income to give you the tax deductions and credits you are eligible for based on your answers. If you have questions, you can connect live via one-way video to a TurboTax Live CPA or Enrolled Agent with an average of 15 years of experience to get your tax questions answered. TurboTax Live CPAs and Enrolled Agents are available in English and Spanish and can also review, sign, and file your tax return.

Comments (1,967) Leave your comment

  1. I filed my taxes on February 19th and still haven’t received my tax refund. I’m not sure who to call or contact for this issue.

  2. I filed my taxes about a month and half ago and the next day I recieved the rest of my w2 forms so when I went to add it, they told me I had to amend it to add the rest, I had to wait a couple weeks to finally amend it and I finally added it and I received the first part of my refund a couple weeks ago but the rest is just sitting in the tool bar. I wanna know when I’m getting that money and why it’s just sitting there

    1. Hi Ashlee,

      Now that you have completed the 1040x Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, print, sign, and mail it. Amended returns are not available for e-filing. It takes about 8-12 weeks for the IRS to process it after they have received the amended tax return.

      Approximately, three weeks after your amendment is accepted, you can start tracking its status at the IRS Where’s My Amended Return? Also, please be aware that it can take 12-16 weeks to process your amendment and any refund that you may be expecting. Refunds are not available for Direct Deposit and will be mailed to the address submitted on the tax return.

      Thank you

    1. Hello Keyonis,
      Your refund will not already be on your card. Cards are not active when mailed. You have to activate it then wait until the IRS issues your refund.
      TurboTax gives you an estimated date for receiving your refund based on a 21 day average from your date of acceptance, but it can take longer. Once your return has been accepted by the IRS, then you can track the status of your refund.

      The IRS issues all tax refunds. TurboTax does not issue the actual refund. If you have an IRS acknowledgement then they are processing the return. You may also check the status of the tax refund via IRS “Where’s My Refund?” tool.
      Please note you will need the following information when checking on your refund status:
      Social security number or ITIN
      Your filing status
      Your exact refund amount

      Thanks

  3. Has anyone anywhere recieved any type of help from TurboTax or even the IRS? I recieved my tiny state refund but not my federal!! I filed the end of March and my status bar has been on approved the entire time. In fact the exact same day I E-Filed it has been on APPROVED. If I have recieved my state and not federal, why isn’t this shown as STATE TAX RETURNED instead of showing nothing but a status bar for what is missing and partially recieved!!! It is clear to me all of our status’ says the same things and we want/need answers. So if anyone anywhere has something for advice please send it. Appreciated .

  4. I mailed off my tax return the middle of March and I am trying to go check the status of it through Where’s My Refund and it keeps saying the information you provided is not correct. please check your refund information. everything on there is correct what do I need to do.

    1. Hello Alyssa,
      If you have an IRS acknowledgement then they are processing the return. Please note you will need the following information when checking on your refund status:
      Social security number or ITIN
      Your filing status
      Your exact refund amount as shown on your tax return
      Thanks

      1. I mailed my tax return March 14 April 2nd it was processing a week later I have no bar or no tax topic….

      2. Hi Diana,
        If you filed a paper return the processing time is longer. Per the IRS, “Please allow 4 weeks before checking the status.”
        You can always check the status in: “Where’s My Refund?” tool.
        Please note you will need the following information when checking on your refund status:
        Social security number or ITIN
        Your filing status
        Your exact refund amount

        Thank you

  5. When I check in the IRS “Where’s my refund tool”, it says it was sent for direct deposit on 4/3. It is now 4/8 and it is not showing in my account. What do I do??

  6. My name is melissa Mcqueen we filed our taxes on fed 1 2019 and it says it is still processing we got a letter in the mail saying it is going to be another 60 days what us going on it is n Michael Mcqueen name it don’t take hat long to look and make sure everything is ok

  7. My refund filed Feb. 18th and signed up for direct deposit. I still have NOT received a refund. I IRS refund status website is worthless. You receive a message refund still being processed. I want more information. And there is no phone number where you can call an actual person for assistance. I am seeing other comments on refunds not received. I would like to know what is going on especially when one comment states they filed 3/11/19, accepted 3/14/19, approved 3/24/19 and refund 3/27/19. Please someone give me an explanation where is my refund?

  8. I did my taxes for 2018 on February 22, 2019. I still do not have my refund. I get on the IRS2Go app and I go to the IRS site and punch in the information. Always tells me there is no information. I did it on Turbo Tax and mailed on February 23, 2019. On April 6, 2019 will be 6 weeks. What should I do then? Is there a certain number to call?
    Thank You
    Cheryl

  9. Filed February 11, been trying to get an answer from the IRS but can’t seem to get anyone on the phone….also unanswered questions. The recording states that they cannot provide any information at this time?! Who do I need to call at this point?

    1. Hi Susan,
      Sorry you are having problems with your refund status. The IRS issues all tax refunds. TurboTax does not issue the actual refund. If you have an IRS acknowledgement then they are processing the return. You may also check the status of the tax refund via IRS “Where’s My Refund?” tool.
      Please note you will need the following information when checking on your refund status:
      Social security number or ITIN
      Your filing status
      Your exact refund amount
      Hope this helps. Thank you.

  10. I filed mine not with efile on feb 21 st what do I do it’s says it was not received so do I have to print off and send it somewhere because it’s been over a month

    1. Brook, I did not do efile either, but I did send a copy of my taxes I did on Turbo Tax to the IRS. I still have not gotten a response or it will not find the information as I type in the information from where and how Filed Feb 22, 2019 on Turbo Tax. I need a number to call. Does anyone have one? Thanks

  11. I am not sure how much exactly I’m being back and don’t have copies of my returns how do I get copies do i can check the status

  12. I e-filed my tax return through turbotax on Feb 14, 2019 and have not yet received a refund. I do not know how to track the satus.

  13. I’m kind of relieve to know that there’s a lot of people who seem to be waiting for their federal refund longer than 21 days. My e-file was accepted on March 3rd and I got my CA state refund in a week or so but I still haven’t got my federal back. The IRS refund status says “Your tax return is still being processed. A refund date will be provided when available.” I will give it another week or so and maybe try calling them…

    1. I received the same info on my account also
      Finally 6 weeks after my refund had been ccwoted I received a letter by mail from the irs stating that I had to verify my identity. It took about a week and multiple phone calls to get my identity verified only to b told that now it going to be another 9 weeks before I can receive my refund, I believe the date is May 31. I filed my taxes on February 8th. And how it was explained to me was “ because I had to go through the process of verifying my identity that my refund is now no longer considered an e-filed return it is now considered a paper return so I have to wait the additional 9 weeks from the time that got everything verified before I will get my return. I filed early because I have a son graduating this year and I’m a single mom of two teenage boys. Paying for all his stuff this year has been hard enough and I planned ahead and filed early to make sure I could get my return back in time to finish paying for the last of his graduation supplies,prom etc… only to now b told that I want even get my return back until two weeks after he graduates. It’s makibg things very difficult financially right now. And keep in mind when ask why they were having to verify my identity no one could answer me, no one knows why. I didn’t mess up on my tax return nothing was changed on my return when they finished asking me a bunch of questions, so it’s through no fault of mine but yet I’m the one who is having to put what to do now. And at this point there is nothing else to do because I’m all out of resources right now. They have all been exhausted already.
      So sorry to vent, hope u have better luck than I did

      1. You’re able to call the irs and request a tax advocate. Tell them you’re in a financial hardship. The advocate can see exactly what’s going on. They will help process your return faster. I filed both 2017 and 2018 together. A letter can back saying I need to verify my identity. I had to answer some questions over the phone. U thought I was cleared! Nope! Got another letter saying the irs wants to verify my employment. They asked for a company letterhead and a statement. The advocate faxed this to the irs department that handles this. Now, my check is finally on the way. I waited over three months. I suggest anyone that can’t check their status to ask for an advocate ASAP! Or else you’ll be waiting longer

  14. Since no one ever replies back with an update, I will let you know how it went when I filed my taxes for a refund. I filed a basic return; no kids and not married. I filed on 3-11-19 and was accepted on 3-14-19. I was approved on 3-24-19 and got a direct deposit date for 3-27-19. Today, the 27th, I got the direct deposit. It took a total of 16 days from when I was accepted to when I got my refund. This might not be the case with everyone, but mine came relatively quickly in terms of the IRS. When I got my refund wasn’t a big deal for me, I wasn’t depending on the money for anything. Many years ago that wasn’t the case so I know how important it is because some of you are counting/depending on the money. I hope my case with regards to how quickly I got my refund helps some of you at ease.

    1. I had a direct deposit date 3 27 19 also never received nothing I had a offset which they took their portion but what happen to the rest of my refund they said it was sent to the bank and I called my bank and they haven’t receive nothing yet with a offset it should only take a few additional day keep in my it says refund sent on the 27 at 10pm I got the refund went now how much longer I’m sick of this

  15. My state says my refund was sent March 21, I got my card today, March 25, and there is no money on it when I activated it..any idea why?

  16. We have an amended tax return for 2017, it was filed in December of 2018; as of March 25th we have not heard a word from the IRS. The Turbo-Tax reference# is 432801273, can you get any information?

    1. Hi Gordon,
      Amended returns have longer processing times than current year tax returns. Approximately, three weeks after your amendment is accepted, you can start tracking its status at the IRS http://www.irs.gov/Filing/Individuals/Amended-Returns-(Form-1040-X)/Wheres-My-Amended-Return-1
      Also, please be aware that it can take 12-16 weeks to process your amendment and any refund that you may be expecting. Refunds are not available for Direct Deposit and will be mailed to the address submitted on the tax return.
      Hope this helped. Thanks

  17. I received a letter from IRS wanting more information to support the amount of entry 13714.00 on line 16 of form 1040. I have receipts for 9000.00 the Turbo form said that I could claim 13714.00 so I marked it…..can you contact me on some questions I have
    Thank you

  18. Did my taxes get filed or not? I checked on my refund, as your email told me to do, and it says my return was rejected. I paid you $40, what is going on?

  19. Got Federal Tax approved and refund right away. Still waiting on PA State tax. It was approved, but no refund deposited.

  20. So Turbo Tax screwed up. Got letter from IRS stating that I need to do a Form 8962 concerning my medical. As I am doing this form this morning it was stating put on line so and so on form 1040 which Turbo Tax should of known and completed when we did my taxes. Very angry filed on 2/7/19 and 6 weeks later a form from IRS, Got State in 5 days and now this. Grrrrr and want to charge me money for incomplete tax forms.

  21. I / turbo tax efiled mine 1/24/19 still haven’t got it in the mail , & irs is saying wrong info., please someone help me on what 2 do next. Thx n Blessed day Y’all! !! ClnChico 2

    1. U have to put ur federal tax amount only on Where’s my Refund ! I put my total in ( state and federal ) it said the samething … then someone told me to enter only federal amount and the info changed

  22. I filed the end of January and have not received either of my refunds! Never took this long before…. Keeps telling me, printed ready to mail

  23. Received an email they are going to take 39.99 from my bank account because my taxes didnt come yet. Which is stupid it was suppose to be taken out my taxes but because its late they want to take the money now. not going to happen that wasnt what I signed up for turbo tax your going to wait like I have to

    1. I agree and for now on irs should learn to wait on recieving our money just as we have to wait ridiculous amounts of time. ITS MY MONEY AND I WANT IT NOW!!!!

  24. I filed on turbo tax I didn’t do efile I did paper do I have to print them and send the somewhere because it’s been 4 weeks I checked the status and nothing first time doing it by myself so please help

    1. Yes if you didn’t efile you chose to mail them in. So print your forms & mail to the irs. You can google what address to send your tax return to. But why wouldn’t you efile? It’s so much faster. Hope this helps.

  25. I recieved my state but not my federal I called my local IRS and they stated they cant give me any information about where my refund is. I’ve never had this issue before what is going on??

    1. I filed early February and I still haven’t received my refund. Every time I try to go into “ where’s my refund” it keeps saying the same thing. That it is still being processed and there is not date. I got an email from turbo tax billing me bc I have not yet received my taxas which they were suppose to take it out from there. It has never taken me this long to receive my refunds.

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