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Tracking Your IRS Refund

If you filed your taxes already (kudos to you!), you probably want to know where your refund from the IRS is. They’re quick to collect the money, but are they quick to pay out? It turns out they are, as long as you follow a few simple tips (which we put at the end).

While the IRS hasn’t entered the mainstream in many areas, being able to track your refund is one of the nice features of the IRS website. The service is called, expectedly, Where’s My Refund [3] and it will tell you about your refund 72 hours after you file your return. You will need to know your social security number, filing status, and the amount of the refund on your return. They update the site every Wednesday, no use checking before then.

Another service they offer is an Android and iPhone app called IRS2Go [4]. It’s basically the Where’s My Refund tool on a phone with a few other features, like tax season updates and the IRS twitter feed.

If you haven’t finish your taxes just yet, here are a few tips to speed up your refund:

  1. Get it right. Any errors, whether it’s incorrect entry of numbers to bad math, will delay your refund. If you prepared your taxes with software, you probably won’t have any math errors, so just make sure you entered all the numbers correctly.
  2. File electronically. Efiling might cost you a few dollars but your refund is processed a lot faster. When you e-file, you’ll get notification within 24 hours that the IRS received it (mailing will add a few days). Within 72 hours, they’ll notify you of the refund. Mail something in and it’ll take weeks to process it.
  3. Direct deposit your refund. Once they confirm your refund, direct deposit means you get cash within a week. If you request a paper check, it has to be printed, then mailed, and finally deposited when you get around to go to the bank. That’s if you are lucky and the check isn’t lost in the mail.

So, if you haven’t filed yet, use tax prep software, e-file, and request your refund via direct deposit for the fastest refund from the IRS. If you already filed, check the IRS’s Where’s My Refund site every Wednesday and you’ll know where your little IRS refund is.