When Will You Receive Your Tax Return?

tax refund
April 19, 2024

The April 15 federal tax filing deadline has come and gone. Also, if you’re like millions of Americans, you are checking your mailbox or your bank account regularly in anticipation of your forthcoming refund. 

If you filed your taxes days, weeks, or even a month or two ago and still haven’t received a check or a direct deposit from the IRS and/or your state’s Department of Revenue, there’s no need to worry just yet.   

Read on to uncover the fundamentals of how long it takes for an average tax refund to arrive and what you can do to keep tabs on tax returns online. 

Understanding Your Tax Refund Timeline for 2024 

According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), if you file an electronic federal tax return, you should receive your refund within 21 days. If you send your tax return by mail or file an amended return, then it may take at least four weeks for your tax return to be processed. 

The IRS expects more than 146 million individual tax returns for 2023 to be filed during the 2024 tax season. However, they have also made some improvements this year to handle the heavy workload. According to a January press release and building off the success of the 2023 tax season that saw significant improvements, the 2024 filing season will continue the IRS’ focus on improving services to taxpayers. 

“For months, IRS employees have been working hard to be ready to help taxpayers and make tax season as easy and smooth as possible,” said IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel in the Jan. 29 press release. “We’ve taken important steps to add more improvements to help taxpayers, ranging from expanded in-person hours, better online options and improved phone service.” 

How Do I Know if My Tax Return was Filed? 

One of these improvements includes enhancements to the IRS’ Where’s My Refund? tool. Additionally, this is the first stop for checking to ensure that your federal tax return was received. 

To use Where’s My Refund? there are a few things you will need to get started.  

You’ll have to have your Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification number, and you will need to know your filing status (like married filing jointly or married filing separately).  You’ll also have to know the exact whole dollar amount of your expected refund from the year you are checking (in this case, 2023.) 

Once you have this information ready, you can log in and almost immediately check to ensure your tax return was filed. Once the IRS acknowledges the receipt of a return, refund status information is typically available within the following: 

  • Twenty-four hours after receipt of a taxpayer’s e-filed tax year 2023 return. 
  • Three to four days after receipt of an e-filed tax year 2022 or 2021 return. 
  • Four weeks after mailing a paper return. 

If you used our tax professionals at Waters Hardy to prepare and file your taxes, you’ll likely get immediate confirmation from your tax preparer that your return was filed and accepted by the respective federal and state agencies. 

How Can I Check the Status of a Tax Return 

Once again, the Where’s My Refund? tool is the best online resource for checking on the status of your refund, especially if you prepared and filed your return without the assistance of a tax professional. 

Taxpayers should note that the IRS updates the tool once a day and usually overnight. So, there’s no need to check multiple times throughout the day. 

In addition to the online tool, the IRS also offers a mobile app called IRS2Go, which can be downloaded and accessed on any mobile device. In addition to refund status, this official app of the IRS also has several new features for taxpayers, which include the following: 

  • Make a Payment – Taxpayers can access mobile-friendly payment options like IRS Direct Pay, a free and secure way to pay any taxes owed to the IRS directly from your bank account. You can also make a credit or debit card payment through an approved payment processor if preferred. 
  • Free Tax Help – Via the IRS2GO app, you can directly access free tax software from your mobile device to quickly prepare and file your taxes and get your refund if you have requested an extension past the April 15 due date. 

What If My Tax Refund Hasn’t Arrived Yet? 

Keep in mind that there are some factors that may delay your refund. The most common reasons for a refund delay are as follows: 

  • Your tax return has errors, requires additional IRS review, or is incomplete. 
  • Your return needs a correction to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or Additional Child Tax Credit. 
  • There is a delay between when the IRS issues the refund, and when the bank posts the refund to your account.  

If there is a problem with your return the IRS will contact you by mail. They will provide you what information you need to proceed.

If you receive your refund and it’s not what you expected, then it may be due to changes made by the IRS on their end. These changes commonly entail corrections to the Child Tax Credit or EITC amounts or an offset from all or part of the refund amount to pay past-due taxes or debts. 

Notifications about whether more information is needed may also be available via the IRS2Go app mentioned above and the Where’s My Refund? Tool, which is a new feature that was added by the IRS for tax year 2023.  

Waters Hardy Can Assist You if You Still Have Questions About Your Tax Refund  

Even though your tax season may be technically over, it’s not too late to consult a professional tax advisor if you have questions about your refund! 

If you are troubled by your refund delay, have received a refund that is a different amount than you expected, or have been contacted by the IRS with a request for more information, Waters Hardy can help. 

Reach out to our client-focused team today. We’ll be happy to answer your questions and ensure that you receive the refund you deserve. From lingering questions from this year to getting a jump start on next year’s taxes, Waters Hardy is standing by to be your comprehensive tax resource.  

Contact us today! 

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