How to Check the Status of Your IRS Tax Return

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holding iPhone with IRS2go app

Wondering “Where’s my tax refund?” – There’s an app for that!

If you file your income taxes, and find out that you’ll be getting a tax return from the federal government, then you may soon start wondering, “Where’s my refund?!” The IRS gets this question enough that they’ve dedicated an entire page of their website to answering this query!


holding iPhone with IRS2Go app

Access the IRS Where’s My Refund tool on your computer or mobile device. 

There are two easy methods of checking the status of your tax refund with the IRS’ Where’s My Refund tool. You can either download the IRS2Go app on your mobile device or open any web browser on your laptop or desktop computer and navigate to the Where’s My Refund page on the IRS website.

No matter how you access the Where’s My Refund tool, you’ll be asked to enter the same information: your Social Security Number or ITIN, your filing status, and the exact refund amount you’re expecting to receive. Be sure to have this information handy so you can check the status of your refund.


IRS Where's My Refund tracking page

You can use the IRS’ Where’s My Refund tool 24 hours after the IRS receives your e-filed return or 4 weeks after you mail a paper return. To get started, simply open the IRS2Go app on your phone or use your web browser to head on over here and click the blue “Check My Refund Status” button.


MacBook open to IRS Where's My Refund page

After entering the required information, you will receive a personalized refund update based on the processing status of your tax return. The Where’s My Refund tracker will display your refund’s progress in one of three stages:

  1. Return Received
  2. Refund Approved
  3. Refund Sent

Once the IRS has processed and approved your tax return, you will also be provided with an actual refund date. The Where’s My Refund tool has the most up-to-date information available about your refund and it’s updated daily (usually overnight), so there’s no need to check more often than once per day.


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What if the IRS’ Where’s My Refund tool can’t locate my refund?

The IRS issues more than 90% of federal tax refunds in less than 21 days, but sometimes it can take longer than that to receive your money. Some tax returns require additional review, or it might just be taking longer this year (like so many other things!) due to coronavirus-related issues.

If the Where’s My Refund tool is unable to provide you with an update on the status of your tax return, the IRS asks you not to file a second tax return or contact them by phone. They do have phone and walk-in representatives who can help you research the status of your refund, but only if it has been 21 days or more since you filed electronically, more than 6 weeks since you mailed your paper return, or if the Where’s My Refund tool specifically directs you to contact the IRS.

Keep in mind that the US Postal Service is experiencing mail processing delays related to COVID-19. This means that it might take longer than usual to send, receive, and process mailed documents like paper tax returns and other tax-related correspondence. The IRS is currently processing all mail in the order that it is received.


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Comments 6

  1. csmith82

    I read that this year they are behind and won’t be processing returns until as early as Feb 12.

  2. Tiffany Huff

    Still waiting on my 2019 tax return and stimulus 🙁

    • Clestina

      Same here on federal return. No way to talk to as anyone either

    • packerm

      I had the same problem, I was able to find a website with instructions that allowed me to get through to a person at the IRS and I finally got my return in September 2019 after filing it Feb 2019. Here are the steps I copied off the website: The IRS telephone number is 1-800-829-1040. The first question the automated system will ask you is to choose your language. Once you’ve set your language, do NOT choose Option 1 (regarding refund info). Choose option 2 for “Personal Income Tax” instead. Next, press 1 for “form, tax history, or payment”. Next, press 3 “for all other questions.” Next, press 2 “for all other questions.” When the system asks you to enter your SSN or EIN to access your account information, do NOT enter anything. After it asks twice, you will be prompted with another menu. Press 2 for personal or individual tax questions. Finally, press 4 for all other inquiries. The system should then transfer you to an agent.

  3. amandeep

    Just got mine last month

    • Irene (Hip Sidekick)

      Whoooo hooo! Nice, amandeep!

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