Federal Tax Return Status – Check the tax refund @irs.gov

To check the status of your federal tax return, you can use the IRS “Where’s My Refund” tool or the IRS2Go mobile app. The IRS generally issues refunds within 21 days of e-filing a tax return, but it may take longer for paper returns.

Federal Tax Return Status

To monitor your federal tax return status, utilize either the IRS “Where’s My Refund” tool or the IRS2Go mobile app. Refunds are typically issued within 21 days of e-filing, though paper returns may require additional processing time.

If you e-filed and chose direct deposit, you can usually expect to receive your refund within 8-15 days. However, if you filed a paper return, it could take four to eight weeks to process your refund.

The “Where’s My Refund” tool is updated once every 24 hours, and you can start checking the status 24 hours after e-filing your return. 

IRS Tax Return Status 

Guide on checking your federal tax return status online using the IRS “Where’s My Refund?” tool:

Access the tool

  • Head to the IRS “Where’s My Refund?” website: https://www.irs.gov/refunds

Gather your information

Before starting, verify that the following information is easily available:

  • Social Security number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN): This uniquely identifies your tax return.
  • Filing status: This could be single, married filing jointly, head of household, etc.
  • Exact refund amount (whole dollars only): Don’t include cents, as rounding errors can lead to discrepancies.

Enter your details

Federal Tax Return Status

  • In the designated fields, enter your SSN/ITIN, filing status, and exact refund amount.
  • Ensure the accuracy of your information before clicking “Continue.”

View your status

  • Your current tax return status will be displayed on the screen.
  • The possible statuses include:
    • Received: The IRS has received your return for processing.
    • Approved: The IRS has processed your return and calculated your refund or balance due.
    • Sent: Your refund has been issued and is on its way to you.
    • Additional action required: This indicates missing information or discrepancies requiring your attention.

Sign up for updates

  • To receive email or text message updates on your refund status, click “Sign up for refund updates.” This way,you’ll be notified every time your status changes.


  • Call the Internal Revenue Service at 1-800-829-1040. Prepare for considerable wait periods, particularly during high season. Prepare your Social Security number and filing status before calling.


  • Request a transcript from the IRS by mail. Transcripts provide detailed information about your tax account, including the processing status of your return. Allow 5-10 business days for processing.

Timelines for Federal Tax Return 

E-filed returns:

  • Refund: 2-3 weeks after approval.
  • Mailed returns: 6-8 weeks after approval.

Paper returns:

  • Processing: 6-8 weeks.
  • Refund: 4-6 weeks after approval (additional to processing time).

Amended returns:

  • Processing: Up to 16 weeks.
  • System update: Additional 3 weeks to appear in the tracking system.
  • Processing times can vary depending on the complexity of your return and current IRS workload.

What to do if your refund is delayed beyond 3 Weeks?

If you haven’t received your refund within three weeks after it was approved (as expected for e-filed returns), here are some steps you can take:

  • Wait a few extra days: Sometimes, refunds can take slightly longer than the estimated timeframe. Allow a few additional days for potential delays in transit or processing.
  • Double-check your status: Use the IRS “Where’s My Refund?” tool () to confirm your refund status. 
  • Verify your bank account information: If you chose direct deposit, ensure the bank account information on your return is accurate and matches your current account. Any discrepancies might cause delays.
  • Contact the IRS: If your status shows “Approved” for more than three weeks, or if you encounter any issues verifying your information, contact the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. 
  • Be prepared to provide your Social Security number or ITIN, filing status, and the exact refund amount.

Common delays for Federal Tax Return

Common delays for IRS tax refunds include:

  • Missing Information: Failure to include basic information or providing inaccurate details on the return can lead to processing delays and, consequently, delayed refunds.
  • Calculation Errors and Omissions: Calculation errors, missing signatures, or omitting essential information such as Social Security numbers or dependents’ details can result in delayed refunds. 
  • Filing Method: Mailed returns generally take longer to process than e-filed returns. Errors or inconsistencies on paper returns can further extend the processing time.
  • Audits and Debt Owed: The IRS may delay refunds to conduct audits or offset them to cover federal debts, such as unpaid taxes.
  • Volume and Processing Backlogs: High volumes of tax returns, IRS backlogs, and the need for additional reviews can also lead to delays in issuing refunds.

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