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How Do I Check My Tax Refund Status?

A W-2 wage and tax statement states how much an employee was paid and how much in taxes was withheld. If too much was withheld, it will be refunded.
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  • Written By: C. Wilborn
  • Edited By: Lucy Oppenheimer
  • Last Modified Date: 30 July 2014
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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.

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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.

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Discuss this Article

mabeT
Post 3

‘Where’s my refund?’ is actually really easy to use to find out your refund tax status, and it’s kind of nice knowing what’s up with your money! I live in North Carolina, and they have a similar sort of help tool on their website. I have noticed, though, that for the past few years the NC refund has taken a while to come in. The federal has always been right on time. I guess it might have something to do with the budget problems we’ve been having, or it may just be that way with all state refunds. Who knows?

Agni3
Post 2

@ Facebook_User - So all that you need is three pieces of information? You don’t need your pin number if you filed electronically? Thanks!

Rupesh Pawani
Post 1

However, before you move further, make sure you have a copy of your tax return around, which would help you access information necessary to check the status. To be precise, they would ask for your social security number, filing status, and the amount of refund expected.

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