When Will I Get My Tax Refund?

March 25, 2012 by  Filed under: Taxes 

It’s the first thing that pops into your head as you hit the submit button or slide your return into the mailbox: “When will I get my refund?” Even as a tax writer, who knows full well he’s going to have to wait at least two weeks, I find myself compulsively checking the IRS website to see, if by some miracle, my money has been magically direct deposited it into my bank account.

But alas – it’s not there. Like everyone else, I have to wait. The question then becomes, how long? While everyone’s tax situation is unique, there are some broad time ranges within which you can reasonably expect to receive your refund.

Most people nowadays e-file their return and request a direct deposit, and with good reason. Not only is it easier and more accurate than other methods, it also means you get your money a lot faster. Now, with everything done electronically and processing times cut way down, you can expect your refund in as little as 8 to 15 days.

But this is by no means a hard and fast rule – you may very well have to wait longer than 15 days. Already during the 2012 season, for example, the IRS system has experienced a “glitch” that resulted in delays of several weeks.

If you either paper filed or requested a paper check, your wait times are going to be longer. E-filers who request a paper check will generally have to wait somewhere in the vicinity of 3 weeks, and those who file a return by mail 6-8 weeks. There are no guarantees. It could take less time or it could take much longer. It all depends on the IRS.

Just because you have to wait doesn’t mean you have to be kept in the dark. Another great benefit of the era of digital filing is the Where’s My Refund? tool on the IRS website. Enter your social security number, filing status, and the amount you’re getting back to see exactly where your money is.

Remember also that your tax preparation company is not in control of your money. Once your return is accepted by the IRS, it’s out of their hands. Calling and complaining to customer service is likely to do little good. If your refund is several weeks late, the best thing to do is call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. Hopefully they will be able to resolve your problem.

Good luck with the IRS and happy filing!

Curran Boomer is a tax enthusiast who has helped many people find their maximum refund.

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