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Where’s My Refund? Step-by-Step Timeline of your Tax Refund

Tax Refunds Taxes

From the time you prepare and file your tax return, to the day you find your tax refund in your mailbox or your bank account, you’re never alone.

A smiling women at her home and working on her laptop

Here is a timeline of your tax refund and where you can find help when you need it.

Where’s my refund?

Step 1: Prepare your tax return.

Using TaxAct, all you need to do is answer simple questions. TaxAct does the rest – checking tax laws for possible tax breaks and limitations, performing the calculations, and alerting you of any missing information or tax-saving opportunities you may have missed.

Regardless of whether you have simple or complex taxes, TaxAct makes it easy and fast.

Where to find help:

TaxAct explains each question in easy-to-understand language. If you need more help, look for the Popular Help Topics on the right side of your screen or search the Answer Center.

Step 2: File your tax return.

You can still print and file your taxes the old-fashioned way.

For the fastest, most secure filing, however, e-file your return and have your refund direct deposited into your savings or checking account.

Your return will be delivered to and processed by the IRS faster, meaning your money can be deposited directly in your account that much sooner.

If you owe taxes, you can still e-file now and schedule your payment before April 18.

Step 3: TaxAct sends your tax return to the IRS.

Once you’ve done your part, you can sit back and relax.

TaxAct encrypts and transmits your return electronically, using the highest security standards, to the IRS via a secure connection for immediate processing – no stamps, envelopes, or trips to the post office necessary.

Step 4: The IRS processes your tax return.

The IRS usually processes returns within 48 hours of receiving them.

If you provided your email address or cell phone number in the Filing steps of TaxAct, you’ll be notified as soon as your return is processed.

Step 5: Wait for your refund.

Waiting may be the hardest part, especially if you’re expecting a significant refund.

It shouldn’t take long, however. Once your return is accepted by the IRS, the agency will approve and issue your expected refund delivery date.

Most filers, 9 out of 10 in fact, receive a refund within 21 days upon the IRS receiving their tax return.

For more information, please refer to IRS Publication 2043.

Where to find help:

After 21 days come and go (30 days if you mailed your return), and you still haven’t received your refund, check the status of your IRS refund online with “Where’s My Refund” tool at www.irs.gov.

Remember, the IRS only updates “Where’s My Refund’ information once every 24 hours, usually overnight.

If you’re receiving a state refund, check your state agency’s website for a similar refund status checker tool. State refund times vary.

Please note: the IRS and states do not share refund status information with tax preparation companies (including TaxAct).

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