How to Check with the IRS about your Tax Refund

With the increasing popularity of IRS e-File, income tax refunds arrive much more quickly than in years past. Even with the more rapid deposit of refunds, occasionally some type of issue occurs that will delay the issuance of a refund.  Anyone wishing to track the progress of their income tax refund can do so by using either of the two methods offered by the Internal Revenue Service. 

Before attempting to use either method, be sure you have a copy of your tax return available for reference.  If this is not possible, you will need to have some important information handy in order to obtain information on the status of your income tax refund.   This information includes the social security number of the person listed on the top line of the tax return, filing status, and the amount of refund due.

The first, and easiest method of finding out the status of your income tax refund is using the IRS website’s “Where’s My Refund” service.  Simply visit the website, fill in the required information, and hit the submit button.  Within a matter of seconds, the status of your refund will be provided. This information is the most current and up-to-date information available from the IRS.   If your tax return is being processed, but no refund date has been established, this information will be provided rather than an expected date of refund.

The second method of checking on your income tax refund is by phone. The IRS offers an automated service that will provide the same information as the “Where’s My Refund” website, without the need for internet access.  The telephone number to call is 1-800-829-1040.  Simply follow the prompts to find out the status of your income tax refund.  You will need the same information regarding filing status, social security number, and refund amount, as if you were using the aforementioned method.  Once this information is provided, a recorded message will give the status of your refund.

For those who use a professional tax preparer, often they can use their own tax software to access this information, however the information provided will be the same information as that of the IRS website or automated service.   Many tax payers are opting to file their own taxes using readily available tax preparation software. These types of software will generally have an option to check the status of your refund as well. Many times theses software services like you directly to the IRS website.

Keep in mind, having your tax return direct deposited into your checking or savings account will result in receiving your refund up to two weeks sooner when you e-file your return.   Mailing in your return will result in your tax return taking up to 6 weeks to process for refund.  The biggest advantage of the IRS e-file service is a faster refund with less paperwork. 

A less popular option would be to call the IRS at the telephone number listed above and opt to speak to a representative. This option is the least recommended option due to long hold times.  If there are no problems or issues with your return or refund, using the automated telephone service or the Where’s My Refund?” option is the most effective method in determining your refund status.