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Receive and monitor your refund quickly

Many taxpayers look forward to their refunds to manage their finances, such as paying bills.  They may also be anxious to get their refunds for buying cars or other major purchases.

If you are one of the millions of people who are eager to get your refund, several factors will determine how long it takes to get your refund.

Rapid refund loans can be used to get refunds within two to three days.  However, I would advise you to think about whether it is worth paying 400 or 500 dollars to get your refund a little sooner.

Efiling and direct depositing is the quickest method if you are not getting a rapid refund loan.  Once you have e-filed and it has been accepted, it normally takes 7-10 days to receive your refund.  However, if you are claiming the Additional Child Tax Credit or Earned Income Credit, it may take longer for the IRS to check your return. 

By law, the IRS cannot issue refunds before February 15 for any tax return claiming the Earned Income Credit or Additional Child Tax Credit.

Mailed returns normally take about 4-6 weeks to receive your refund.

The IRS “Where’s My Refund” is a tool for determining the date of your refund.  Information will generally be available within 24 hours after the IRS receives an e-filed return.

You can find the tool on IRS.gov or the free IRS mobile app IRS2Go. 

“Where’s My Refund” includes a tracker that displays progress through three stages: Return Received, Return Approved, and Refund Sent.  When the IRS processes a tax return and approves the refund, taxpayers can see their expected refund date. 

Taxpayers who file paper tax returns won’t usually be able to see their refund status until approximately four weeks after they have mailed their return.

You may also call the IRS at 1-800-829-4477 to check the status of your refund.

The IRS system for determining the date of the refund updates once every 24 hours, usually overnight, so there is no reason to check more often.

You should call the IRS to check on a refund only when it has been more than 21 days since you e-filed, or more than six weeks since the return was mailed.  You should also call the IRS if the Where’s My Refund tool directs you to contact the IRS.

If you need to talk to the IRS about your refund, the phone number is 800-829-1040.  One advantage of using a tax professional to file your taxes is that if there is a problem getting your refund, they can typically talk to the IRS in a matter of minutes by using the Tax Practitioner Hotline.

David Zubler is a tax accountant in East Tennessee, the author of four books, and a philanthropist.  All of his proceeds from the books go to a charitable foundation he created for underprivileged children.  He is also the founder of Your Tax Care which provides tax education. David can be reached for questions and consultation at yourtaxcare.com.