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

Tax Refunds Man checking his refund status

The average direct deposit tax refund was close to $3,000 last tax season, and with tax season well underway, 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 your tax return. Here is a breakdown of IRS processing times, how your tax return will progress through the three 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 the IRS Where’s My Refund? tool. 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 and a tax 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, if you have a simple tax return, 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 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 (2,004) Leave your comment

  1. I chose to get direct deposit but I havent had my bank account for more then 30 days so I dont know if I will get a check or deposit

  2. I filed mid January and claimed my 3 children….still waiting for my federal to be directly deposited but it still says being processed…when can I expect my depoisit?

  3. Hi I filed on the 4th was accepted on the 4th and it still says it’s processing did I do something wrong is there something wrong I know people that filed after me and is already got theirs please help

  4. I had some issues with my student loan debts arise this year after I had already filed that I thought were taken care of and were not. My refund status is showing will be sent to my bank on 2/22/19. If the government was taking my refund would I see a deposit date?

  5. I filed my tax on feb 8 2019 and got a notification from turbo tax saying everything was accepted by irs and states but when I go to check where my refund it gives me a msg that they can not find my information and gives me the option to re enter my information or if it’s correct it ask for the date I file

    1. I filed on the 2nd of feb and it was accepted still waiting for it to be approved and i file head of household just me and my 4yr old.

    2. We filed ours on Feb 1st it has said processing the whole time and it’s Feb 20 and haven’t seen anything yet. In the past we usually received it within 2 weeks.

    3. Hello I did my turbo tax filing on January 30 and I checked my track my refund it’s saying still processing is everything ok with my refund how long until I get my refund Vero

    4. As did I I finished mine that morning around 9 am I already got my turbo tax card 4 days later and my state tax a few days after that the federal part is what I’m waiting for heck for all we know it’s part of the National emergency wall fund I want an answer to our current dilemma but no one seems to be in a position to help

    5. 21 days it takes to process that’s what the article was saying and that’s if you have no kids. You still gotta wait for the approval from the IRS. I filed literally on the day they opened filing which was 1/26 or 1/28, I can’t remember and mine is still saying processing too.

    6. I file my taxes on Jan 28 including my 3 children.i got accepted the same day.But I still have not received my refund.Status still says its being process

    7. I did mine on the third and i havent either. I look and everything says sent and acceted but itvalways says they cant find my info. Dont know what to do or where to go.

  6. i filed on 1/19 an carried my children but some people filed after me an carried children an thry got a date already mines is saying still processing whats wrong

      1. My daughter filed on feb 8 got hers back on feb 27. Coworker filed on feb 18 (holiday) and got his back same day feb 27

    1. Hi Jose,
      Less than 1% of taxpayers are audited so I’m not sure why you think you will be audited. The IRS states that they will issue 9 out of 10 tax refunds within 21 days or less of acceptance if you e-file and direct deposit as long as nothing is missing from your return.
      Lisa Greene-Lewis

      1. This is what WMR says…

        We cannot provide any information about your refund.
        If you electronically filed a complete and accurate tax return you should receive your refund in about 21 days from the received date. If you mailed your return please allow 6 weeks.

        Please read the following information related to your tax situation:
        Tax Topic 152, Refund Information
        If you have questions or need additional information, please have the following on hand when you call:
        A copy of this page.
        A copy of your tax return.
        The Social Security Number, Filing Status, and refund amount claimed on your return.
        The date you mailed your return.
        Please mention reference number 9001 to the IRS Customer Service Representative.

      2. My name is Jeffery and I filled on the 11th and my refund was accepted that day also I filled my two children and it’s been past 21 days and it’s still saying processing and that’s all it has said since the day I filled and I also have direct deposit and efiled. So what is going on?????

      3. Most of us filed in January and it’s now March and we have no money and no answers as to when it will be in .its not 9 of 10 anymore. It’s ridiculous.

  7. I filed and it was received on Feb 1st 2019… Feb 9th the one bar disappeared and it says YOUR TAX RETURN IS STILL BEING PROCESSED. A REFUND DATE WILL BE POSTED WHEN AVAILABLE. What does that mean???

    1. I also have the same issue I filed on 01/30/2019 now the bar is gone and it changed to the hike act statment stating that info about not releasing the refund untill after Feb 15th it’s been 21 days and still no date now it has changed again but still no bar saying it’s being processed again all over what’s this about

  8. my Tax return was accepted on January 15th 2019 I haven’t seen any transactions since i revived my acceptance email my state was issued in my account 4 days after filing since my filing date for my federal it been 30 days now

  9. My Income taxes were accepted on January 23, 2019, and i claimed no extra tax credits. My estimated date of receipt was today , February 13, 2019, but my status still only says “accepted”. What could be the issue?

  10. I just checked ‘where is my refund’ and it only shows a message stating the IRS can’t issue returns to those with income credit/ child credit and to check back mid to late February, however I filed single and I didn’t claim children or info be credit? Turbo tax say the estimated turn date was Feb 15th but the IRS website is now considering me?

  11. i filed with turbo tax 1/28 and accepted same day. I did the direct deposit for fees to be taken out of return, i got an approved date for 2/15 but shows a check to be mailed I checked my 1040’s to make sure bank info was correct, i am not sure as to why im getting a paper check or will the wording change maybe tomorrow?

  12. Hi, I just filed my taxes on turbo tax on January 31st 2019, everything went thru just fine like all previous years doing it with turbo tax, I’m supposed to get around 5k back. And I went to the IRS to check where is my refund, and the site had a message saying that my refund change to balance due of 1k, . I called the IRS yesterday and they told me I will receive a letter explaining why they changed my return, the lady told me that the child tax credit was changed and because of that line 12a and 15 changed and now I have to pay. WHY? I made less then last year and I got 4700 back, i dont understand, i have 3 kids and never had issues with it. Waiting for the letter from IRS to arrive. I need my refund.

    1. Hi Cynthia,
      The IRS expects to issue 9 out of 10 refunds within 21 days or less if you use e-file and direct deposit. If you claimed Earned Income Tax Credit or Additional Child Tax Credit the IRS will start issuing those refunds on 2/15, but I would check IRS Where’s My Refund for updates to your status.
      Lisa Greene-Lewis

      1. I my taxes was filed on the 23rd accepted on thev24th I claimed two kids so should I see my refund before this month run out

      2. Well I filed Jan 12 2019 & Jan 14 2019 it was approved… BUT I STILL DNT HAVE MY FUNDS… Where’s my refund NVR changes to let me know what is going on… I cant get through to anyone at IRS to speak to someone. This is ridiculous

      3. Why did I only get part of my refund .I still have got my earned income .what’s going on?

  13. I filed through Turbo Tax and received a confirmation that it was accepted by the IRS and I have checked the status on the IRS website as accepted. I recently checked and now it says that they don’t have the status and to wait for an email confirmation from the IRS. Is this normal?

  14. IRS shows the refund being paid October 22 2018 but it never hit my account. Seems to have gone to TurboTax refund processing company Santa Barbara Tax Product Group through their bank Civista. But I cannot get in touch with anyone and cannot find out why it has not gone to my account.

    What should I do?

  15. What happened to my state of Delaware taxes? I filed my 2018 taxes on January 10, 2019. Delaware did not get my taxes from turbo tax. Thank you

  16. Filed my taxes last year and its 2019 now and I still havnt received my refund .anyone know who I can talk to about this because the IRS is not telling me anything .

  17. My federal refund indicates refund sent. I filed both federal and state together. I have received my state refund but not my federal, why? It has already been 5 days since refund was sent per “where’s my refund” website.

  18. I need help! I still have not received my federal refund. I need to reactivate my account but have been unable to send my photo ID to Turbotax? Give me a phone number to call so I can talk to someone? Jon Slezak

  19. I filed my taxes in feb..2018 i received my federal but i haven’t received my States check yet please can someone help

  20. I files at the last minute asking for an extension to September. I also included a check to cover what I thought would cover the balance.
    How long do I wait for a response? Where can I check the status?

    Thanks, Harry

  21. I paper filed my return. They received it on March 5th. I never got an acceptance, but my state return came in the mail on March 28th. Its been over six weeks and still nothing. My federal return was filed for direct deposit.They have no record of my information on file. Besides my state processing and I already received it. What should I do?

  22. What if you tried to e-file and couldn’t? I ended up mailing in my tax return, and would like to know how long it usually takes before acknowledgment of a “snail mail” return is received?

  23. My refund was suppose to be deposited in my account on April 11,2018, I’ve waited 24hrs, but the bank haven’t received it at all.. i have an offset of $178.00 what is going on with it or is its normal and i should just wait 5 days??

    1. Hi Tauric,
      It can take 1 to 5 days for your financial institution to deposit funds into your account so I would wait.
      Thank you,
      Lisa Greene-Lewis

      1. I filed on 1/30 got accepted that same day but I can’t track my refund and this is what it says…

        We cannot provide any information about your refund.
        If you electronically filed a complete and accurate tax return you should receive your refund in about 21 days from the received date. If you mailed your return please allow 6 weeks.

        Please read the following information related to your tax situation:
        Tax Topic 152, Refund Information
        If you have questions or need additional information, please have the following on hand when you call:
        A copy of this page.
        A copy of your tax return.
        The Social Security Number, Filing Status, and refund amount claimed on your return.
        The date you mailed your return.
        Please mention reference number 9001 to the IRS Customer Service Representative.

  24. I had filed my taxes on Feb 27th and they still haven’t cane in yet. And every time I call the irs to see where my refund is they are always stating that they can’t give me my information. I need to know where my money is, please help me.

  25. I submitted my 2017 Form 1040 and subsequently determined that I have additional 2017 income. I need to amend including amounts from Form 1099-DIV. I am due a refund per my original return. Should I wait until I receive my refund to submit my amended return and payment or is it better to submit right away?

    1. Hi Dave

      You should file the amendment ASAP. Any additional tax that is due on the amended return is due on or before the filing deadline of April 17, 2018. There could be potential penalties and interest on the additional tax not paid by the filing deadline. TurboTax will walk you through easily amending your tax return. Here are the instructions and more information on amending.

      Thank You
      TurboTax Derek

    2. Hi Dave,
      If you left out a form you should wait until your taxes are accepted before you amend. Once they are accepted you can amend. If it is not accepted you can go in and fix your tax return. If you leave out small amounts from a tax form the IRS may do an adjustment. If you are getting a tax refund, you should also wait until the check is issued. TurboTax will walk you through easily amending. Here is more information on amending your taxes https://blog.turbotax.intuit.com/tax-planning-2/when-do-i-amend-my-tax-return-10524/
      Thank you,
      Lisa Greene-Lewis

  26. I filed and have rec’d my refund. Now I got a corrected 1098 from my bank showing my mortgage insurance premiums in box 5. How do I amend my return? can I do that thru turbotax?

    1. Hello Carole

      Yes you can amend your tax return through TurboTax. The IRS does not accept electronic Amended returns so you will need to print out the return and mail it in. Many mortgage companies have reissued the form 1098 to now include the Mortgage Insurance Premiums in box 5. You can use TurboTax to file the amended return and claim this additional deduction on your taxes.

      Thank you

      TurboTax Derek

    1. Hello John and Shirley

      You are required to report all income on your tax return. If the 1099 was not reported on your original return you should amend the return and file with the IRS and the corresponding State if applicable. You can find the amended form 1040X in the TurboTax program, but be aware that you must mail in that return as the IRS is not set up to accept Efiling of the amended returns.

      Thank you

      TurboTax Derek

  27. Hello,
    I filed jointly with my husband on January 25th. I checked my status and it still shows “processing”. My sister in law submitted her 2 weeks after me and received hers on Friday. Why haven’t I received mine? Do I need to call the IRS? I have never had an issue in the previous years, and have done everything exactly the same. Do I call a local office?

    1. The IRS states that they will issue 9 out of 10 refunds within 21 days or less. You can call them since it’s been beyond 21 days.

  28. My name is Michelle. I filled my taxes January 27, it has been received and approved but I still haven’t received them yet, it’s been more than 30days.

  29. need to know why my refund is being held up? filed with turbo tax on 01/28/2018 and accepted on the 01/29/2018. turbo tax check and recheck all my W-2’s and all my S.S.A 1099’s.and my 1095’s for my insurances for my wife. i have V.A health coverage. checked everyday and still says being processed. now here it is 02/25/2018 and still no refund. been a customer for the last 20+ years and no problem. what going on. IRS has no clue. called with no help.

    1. Hi Tom,
      If the IRS accepted your tax return they received the electronically filed return. If it says they are processing they are reviewing your tax return. I would check the Where’s my refund tool again. You can also call them again since the IRS says you can call once you haven’t received your tax refund within 21 days.
      Thank you,
      Lisa Greene-Lewis

  30. I was to get a 855 refund from my state then I got a bill from the state saying I owe 684…did a paper copy and came up with owing 104….now if I can convince the state of that…..what a pain….thanks for nothing but problems turbo tax…..federal was fine….probably go back to h & r block next year, never had a problem there

    1. Hi James,
      There are various reasons you can receive an adjustment or offset from the IRS. Some of them are:
      – Past due child support
      – Federal agency non-tax debts
      – State income tax debt
      – Certain unemployment compensation debts owed to a state

      You should receive an explanation of adjustments from the IRS and Treasury. Here is more information on treasury offsets
      Thank you,
      Lisa Greene-Lewis

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