Provided by CNET
Tax refund proving elusive? There may be a reason for that. We’ll show you two ways to try to hunt it down.
The status of your tax return may be more important this year than ever. It’s certainly more confusing. For example, the IRS may owe you a plus-up payment if it processes your taxes and finds you didn’t get as much money in this round of stimulus checks as you should calculate your stimulus total. In addition, any missing stimulus money left from the first two checks will arrive bundled with your tax refund.
And since stimulus check delivery is the IRS priority, there could be a delay in processing tax returns, calculating plus-up payments and sending your tax refund. Even if you don’t get a refund, we’ll show you how to use the IRS tax refund tracker to see if your tax return has been processed. Note the new Tax Day deadline of May 17. Also, if you paid taxes on unemployment benefits, the IRS will start refunding that money to eligible recipients in May.
We’ve listed some potential dates in the chart below for how long it could take to get your refund typically. We suggest filing your tax return online if you still need to submit it — the IRS recommends you avoid sending in a paper return this year. We also recommend setting up direct deposit to get your refund quicker. Here’s what we know so far about a potential fourth stimulus check, how you can get more money with a child tax credit, who needs to file an amended tax form, and seven tax breaks.
You need several things on hand to track the status of your tax refund: your Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, your filing status — for example, single, married or head of household — and your exact refund amount in whole dollars, which can be found on your tax return. Also, make sure it s been at least hours before you try tracking your refund.
Using the IRS tool Where s My Refund, enter your Social Security number or ITIN, your filing status and your exact refund amount, then press Send. If you entered your information correctly, you’ll be taken to a page that shows the status of your refund. If not, you may be asked to verify your personal tax data and try again. If all the information looks correct, you’ll need to enter the date you filed your taxes, along with whether you filed electronically or on paper.
There’s also a mobile app, called IRSGO, that checks your tax refund status. The IRS updates the data in this tool overnight each day, so if you don’t see a status change after hours or more, check back the next day.
Both the IRS tools online and mobile will show you one of three messages to explain your tax return status.
Approved: The IRS has processed your return and confirmed the amount of your refund, if you’re owed one. Sent: Your refund is now on its way to your bank via direct deposit or as a paper check to your mailbox. Here s how to change your address if you moved.
The IRS says it issues most tax refunds within days, but many people typically get their refunds much sooner. However, this year, the IRS is reportedly facing delays complicated by the fact that it’s sending out the stimulus checks. If there are any errors, it might take the agency longer to process and issue your tax refund.
The date you get your tax refund also depends on how you filed your return. For example, with refunds going into your bank account via direct deposit, it could take an additional five days for your bank to post it to your account. This means if it took the IRS the full days to issue your check and your bank five days to post it, you may be waiting a total of days to get your money.
If you submit your tax return by mail, the IRS says it could take six to eight weeks for your tax refund to arrive. That’s where tracking your refund comes in handy. Here are some possible dates when you could receive your refund, depending on when you filed.
While you can technically call the IRS to check your status, the agency’s live phone assistance is extremely limited at this time, so you may wait on hold for a while to speak to a representative. Also, the IRS says you should only call if it’s been more than 21 days since you filed your taxes online or if the Where’s My Refund tool tells you to contact the IRS.