Where is My Federal Tax Refund?
You can check your tax refund status through multiple methods. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or state tax department could provide the information you seek.
Track Federal Tax Refund status
You have to first navigate to the IRS website. To do this, click the "Where's My Refund?" application. If you do not have access to a computer, call the Refund Hotline specially set up by the IRS. Dial 1-800-829-1954. In case you prefer to type in, download the IRS2Go application on your phone. This app can be downloaded to both iOS and Android devices. Do remember that the IRS completes a computer system update once every day. This is generally done during nights.
You can access information linked to your personal federal refund as quickly as 24 hours post the IRS receives your electronically filed tax return. If you file a paper tax return, it will take about four weeks to get the information you want.
Processing times for all federal refunds
Tax refunds are made by the IRS within 21 days of tax return received by the agency. This holds true if the return was made through electronic means. When it comes to mailed paper tax returns, the concerned refunds are completed any time from six weeks to eight weeks.
When it comes to amended returns, refunds get processed by the IRS in approximately 12 weeks. The agency takes 14 weeks in case of the adoption tax credit. This is as the IRS completes the verification process along with other necessary duties of the said adoption credit.
The wait-times for non-resident aliens are much longer. Some may have to wait for as much as six months before they receive their due refund. The money will be given only if a claim is made on a tax refund which was withheld by filling up Form 1042-S.
Standard reasons for a delay
A number of causes exist as to why you could find your federal tax refund payment to be delayed. The list of probable delay reasons include processing backlogs, incorrect bank information filled in the tax return's direct deposition section, and the requirement of the IRS to manually verify all provided information.
Refunds take much longer to process in case the IRS receives greater than standard tax return volumes. It takes longer for paper-filed tax returns, including the amended ones or those which must be paper filed. The larger amount of work results in work being backlogged. The IRS may also need to verify the information you have sent manually. This may take time if the process gets backlogged and consequently delayed.
One disturbing scenario is when you see the IRS has sent you the refund, but the money is not showing in your bank account. It means the IRS has wired the refund to a wrong account. This happens more than what the IRS (and you) like when the routing transit number and bank account number are dissimilar to the actual bank numbers. This could be a human mistake. If this happens, the IRS will send the money to your bank account.
In case the tax return numbers do not exactly match the bank account information, then there could be two possibilities. I) Your bank has refused the deposit and the money was sent back to IRS. If this happens, the money will be sent to you by check. II) The bank has not refused the deposit and the money gets deposited to the wrong account as shown on tax return.
Check state tax refund status
You can check your state tax refund status by using the tools provided on the website of each state. The link will be named online refund status or similar words. Locate your state on the link and navigate to the refund status tool of your state.