E-file IRS Tax Refund Schedule
How are Tax Refund Dates Determined?
In prior years, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) maintained an estimated date for which taxpayers could anticipate their tax refund be received. This was known as the IRS Refund Schedule. In 2016 (for the 2015 tax year), the IRS began a new auditing system which included more comprehensive fraud analysis. Consequently, some returns require more time to be processed, so the estimated refund schedule became less helpful than it once was.
In place of the turnaround time once listed on the IRS tax refund schedule, today the IRS issues tax refunds at the pace in which it is able to process returns. During the busier parts of the tax season (late January - early February and the middle of April) it can take longer for them to process received returns. However, there are some ways you can help to receive your refund more quickly.
How to Get Your IRS Tax Refund Faster
E-filed returns not only get to the IRS faster, they are processed faster as well (employees have to manually enter paper returns into the system). In addition to filing electronically, you can speed up the process by having the IRS deposit the tax refund in your bank account. You can request that it is deposited in up to three different accounts, however, you will need to provide the routing number and account number for each.
The vast majority of e-filed tax returns have refunds processed within 21 days of receipt, some in as few as 8 days. With that said, tax refund timetables are not set in stone. 1 out of 10 refunds is delayed longer than this when a situation requires that a return is scrutinized more carefully.
Although you may have plans for your tax refund, the IRS cautions taxpayers to refrain from relying on getting their refund by a specific date.
When to Expect Your IRS Tax Refund
Nearly 80 percent of all taxpayers are eligible for a tax refund. Every year, the IRS refunds millions of people who have either over paid or are due money resulting from their tax refund.
According to the IRS, more than 90 percent of tax refunds are issued within three weeks after the tax return has been received. Refunds, however, can be delayed if the IRS finds an error on the submitted tax form or if your return has been flagged for an additional review.
Checking On The Status and Dealing With Delays
The IRS provides tools to help you track the status of your tax return and refund. You can find out if the IRS has received your tax return, if it has been processed and whether your refund has been issued. To check the status of your tax refund, you can use the form here. Note, you must provide the following information:
- The Social Security number of an individual listed on the tax return.
- Your filing status, such as single, joint or married but filing separately.
- The amount that you expect to be refunded.
The amount of the expected refund can be found on your tax return. Here's where you should look.
- 1040EZ - line 13a
- 1040 - line 76a
- 1040A - line 48a
You can check the status of your refund as early as 24 hours after you electronically file your taxes. Paper filers cannot check their status on the website until four weeks after filing.
Before contacting the IRS to check on the status of your tax refund, you should wait at least six weeks if mailing a paper tax return or at least 21 days if filing taxes electronically. The IRS will not provide information about your refund unless this waiting period has passed. If it has passed, taxpayers can call the IRS for a status update using the Refund Hotline telephone number which is 1-800-829-1954.
Q&A: When should I have my W-2 by law?
Employers are required to send employees their W-2s by January 31st. Your W-2 contains information on the wages earned throughout the year as well as federal and state income tax withheld, Social Security and Medicare taxes. In the event you don't receive a W-2 from your employer (or former employer) your first step should be to contact them and request a replacement. If you are able to obtain a replacement, the IRS provides further instructions here.