How to Check the Status of Your Tax Refund

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1040 Tax FormsIt seems a little early but I’ve been getting a lot of “where is my refund?”-type of emails lately. While I won’t know the answer to that question (and I shouldn’t, the IRS should be that loose with your personal information!), the IRS will. While not usually known for tech savviness, the IRS does have an online tool that lets you check the status of your refund.

You can access the Refund Status tool here.

Check Status of Tax Refund

To use the tool, you will need three pieces of information:

  • Your social security number
  • Your filing status (single, married filing jointly, married filing separate, head of household, or qualifying widow(er))
  • Your exact refund amount (as shown on your tax return).

If your above data is correct and they cannot retrieve your refund status, they will ask you for:

  • The approximate date you filed your tax return
  • The method (paper or electronic)

If they still cannot locate it, they’ll advise that you collect all the above information and give them a call at 1-800-829-0582 (Extension 362) when they are open (Monday – Friday, 7 AM to 10PM).

Lost Your Refund Check

If you use the tool and see that the check was mailed but you never received it (or otherwise lost it), you can request a replacement check if it has been more than 28 days since the check was mailed. If the check was returned to the IRS by the post office, you will also be able to change your address on file through that system (if you are eligible, they will offer that option).

These are two good reasons why you might want to use the direct deposit option for future returns. If you enter your direct deposit information correctly (triple check it!), the check can’t get lost in the mail. 🙂

(Photo: blmurch)

{ 20 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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20 Responses to “How to Check the Status of Your Tax Refund”

  1. Shirley says:

    Thanks for the link, Jim, and I hope I never have to use it… 🙂

    • NateUVM says:

      I’ve used it to check the status of my refund, not that I’ve expected it to have gotten lost. Sometimes it’s just nice to confirm that the IRS has received your return.

      • Shirley says:

        I use TaxACT and receive an email when the efile has been received/accepted by the IRS and state and when the return to me should be expected.

        • MeAndMyWeeds says:

          i did as well, email right away that irs accepted return (feb 2010)instead of around the date i expectd the check, i got an irs letter, the refund amt changed,they found an error, small amt changed, gave a daste to expect chk. AGAIN instead of the check, got another letter further processing shows an even larger refund, like 800 more. ok, i can be patient for that. given another date when to expect it…..then began the series of irs letters with no REAL reasons, just codes n alotta nothing meant to me, just stating they are behind n need more time to process, when they complete their investigation they will notify me within 45 days of any action they decide to take. then it states so that you dont fall behind on paying in your taxes, dont let these delays put u behind or penalized, keep sending money in thru the period to ensure u arent considered delinquent. (first off, i dont owe im to receive a refund. so i dont kno what they want me to send them. and even if i did owe, why would one get penalized or fined for being late when theyre taking 7plus months to even do their basic initiative, that being PROCESS the tax return!! noone shold have to pay late fines etc cuz they seem to be within a overloaded income tax return load, i feel bad for them, but this past 7 months has been so stressful,worrisome,agonizing, not knoing whats up. /o(

  2. zapeta says:

    I’ve used this the same way to confirm the IRS got my return. I use direct deposit for any refund so no problem losing the check.

  3. CK says:

    I had no idea this was available. If you get your e-file in soon it will be back before you realize it.

  4. Izalot says:

    Direct deposit is the way to go for refunds. I have had a turn around of e-filling and having my refund deposited in under 2 weeks.

  5. lostAnnfound says:

    I did not know this site existed. Can be helpful to keep track of your return & your refund. I’ll give it a try this year.

  6. eric says: season is coming up already? always sneaks up on me!

  7. govenar says:

    On the topic of tax refunds, if you’re getting one it might mean that you’re not claiming enough exemptions on your W-4 form. Ideally you should owe a little money on your taxes, rather than get a refund, so that you can make use of that money throughout the year (e.g., earn interest on it), instead of loaning it to the government and getting nothing in return.

    • Shirley says:

      I agree with your logic… but… would you actually add that amount of money to an interest bearing account monthly? If so, great. If not, you are probably better off getting it back in a lump sum that you WILL add to an account.

      This is presuming, of course, that the actual difference in monetary compensation on your paycheck is not very great.

  8. Soccer9040 says:

    I can’t remember where I read this, and I dont advise it or practice it myself. You can sign up to get a paper check for your refund. Get the check in the mail and then proceed to not cash it. In 6 months call them up, tell them you lost the check and they will issue you a new check…WITH INTEREST! Last year when I read about this tactic the rate was somewhere in the neighborhood of 5%. Not sure where its at now, but I know for a fact I read it somewhere. Anyone else heard this?

  9. jsbrendog says:

    i used their tool last year and it worked. i was amazed. and shocked.

  10. I used the link last year to make sure the IRS got my return, will do the same this year. Also, I prefer having the money directly deposited into my account. Much quicker and don’t have to worry about depositing a check.

  11. paystoplayitsafe says:

    I know that the experts say you should shout for little or no return – or even owing the government a little in the end – but I think “average” folks are like “Shirly” and I – no way that little bit more I get in my check every pay day would ever make it into an interest barring account over the length of the year – and if by some fortune it did, it wouldn’t stay there long enough to earn any more than a $1 or so. It may not pay interest, but it’s great to get this chunk of money every year at tax time. And I don’t loss sleep wondering if I might owe more than I realize or can afford.

  12. CS says:

    That is conventional tax wisdom, yes, but if you have 4 children and make less than 40,000 a year, gross, you end up maxing out your witholding and still collecting a refund. Its all child tax credit and EIC and some personal property/real estate taxes but still, not everyone is giving the government a free loan. As it is, in my state (nebraska) I have my federal form filled out correctly for witholding and every year I have to fax my employer my tax forms to send to the state so they can check for witholding fraud. They think I have too many deductions. It’s a hassle.

  13. mzgardner says:

    When are state refunds direct deposited from taxact???

  14. maria alvarado says:

    Where is my refund. How long before I receive it?

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