There are several ways you can find the tax refund status for federal income tax returns filed with the IRS in the United States. Determining the status of a tax refund may depend on what forms were used to file the return and the method by which the return was filed.
According to the IRS, it takes approximately seven days to process a tax return filed electronically, and four to six weeks to process a return filed through the mail. As a result, the tax refund status of a return will not be available until that return is processed.
If the return was filed with the IRS before April 15, the annual tax deadline, the tax refund status may be available online at the IRS's website. The IRS provides an online service called "Where's My Refund?" that can provide the status of a refund whether the tax return was filed electronically using tax preparation software, electronically using fillable forms, or mailed in paper form. The online form requires the social security number of the taxpayer, the filing status, and the exact refund amount. Information on the tax refund status for some returns, including the Amended US Individual Income Tax Return, is not available online.
Two tools are available on the IRS site to assist taxpayers who encounter problems receiving their tax refund. If the refund wasn't delivered because of an issue with the mailing address, the taxpayer can file a change of address online. The IRS estimates that refund checks should arrive within 21 days of the mailing date shown on the site; if the check has not arrived by that time, a taxpayer can alert the IRS to start a trace on the refund online.
The IRS has a toll-free telephone number available for questions about the status of tax refunds. Taxpayers can find that phone number on the IRS' website; the IRS recommends callers have a copy of their return available to provide any information required. Another toll free number, which you can also find on the IRS' website, is dedicated to tax questions that are not related to refunds.
For US taxpayers who need to contact the IRS outside the US, IRS staff are available in embassies or consulates in Frankfurt, Germany; London, England; Paris, France; and Guaynabo, Puerto Rico. Hours of operation vary by country, but you can find out that information at the IRS website. Taxpayers outside the US can also contact the Philadelphia Service Center office.
If you filed your tax return through a professional tax preparation service, you may want to contact the service to find out what forms were used and when the return was filed. Your tax preparer may also be able to confirm that your return has been processed. If your tax preparer cannot determine your tax refund status for you, you should be able to use the form number and filing date to get information on your refund directly from the IRS.