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If you're eager to get your hands on your tax refund, you're not alone. Millions of people have those same "Where's my refund?" thoughts after they file their tax returns.
According to the IRS, the fastest way to get your refund is to file electronically. But if you're still wondering where your funds are after at least 21 days of filing online or six months of mailing your paper return, call the IRS to see about your refund status.
Here's a guide to track the status of your tax refund in 2022, plus some important things you need to know about getting a faster federal or state tax refund.
Where's my refund? Track your IRS tax refund status
Click on the button to go right to the IRS's refund tracker for federal tax refunds. The IRS says it updates payment statuses once per day, usually overnight. Typically, you can start checking on your tax return and IRS refund status
24 hours after e-filing your 2021 return.
3 to 4 days after e-filing a 2019 and 2020 return.
6 months after mailing a paper return.
You can also check the status of your refund on your smartphone by downloading the IRS's mobile app, IRS2go.
If you claimed the earned income tax credit or the child tax credit, note that under the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act, the IRS can't issue your tax refund before mid-February, which means refunds might arrive closer to March 1.
Where's my state refund? Track your state tax refund status
Find your state below to go right to its tax refund tracker so you can find out where your state refund is.
Track my state refund
Note: Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and Wyoming don't collect income tax, so they're not listed here. In New Hampshire, regular income is generally not subject to state tax, but a flat tax rate applies to dividends and interest income.
How to get a faster tax refund
Here are five things that can help keep your "Where's my refund?" worries under control.
1. Avoid filing your tax return on paper.
You can avoid weeks of wondering "Where's my refund?" by avoiding paper. The IRS typically takes six to eight weeks to process paper returns, but in 2022, the agency is taking up to 6 months to process paper returns as it works through a pandemic-related backlog. If you want to avoid waiting, consider filing electronically — those returns are processed in about three weeks. State tax authorities also accept electronic tax returns, which means you may be able to get your state tax refund faster, too.
2. Get direct deposit.
When you file your return, tell the IRS to deposit your refund directly into your bank account instead of sending a paper check. That cuts the time in waiting for the mail and having to check your IRS refund status. You even can have the IRS split your refund across your retirement, health savings, college savings or other accounts so that you don’t fritter it away.
3. Start tracking right away.
If you file using tax software or through a tax pro, you can start tracking your IRS refund status 24 hours after the IRS receives your return. (On mailed returns, you'll have to wait up to six months.) If you're thinking 'Where's my state refund?' there's good news: You can also track the status of your state tax refund by going to your state's revenue and taxation website.
4. Don't let things go too long.
If you haven't received your tax refund after at least 21 days of filing online or six months of mailing your paper return, go to a local IRS office or call the federal agency (check out our list of IRS phone numbers that could get you help faster). Taking these steps won’t necessarily fast-track your refund, according to the IRS, but you may be able to get more information about what's holding up your refund or return.
5. One more thing to know about your tax refund
It's actually something you kind of want to avoid. It may seem great to get a big check from the government, but all a tax refund tells you is that you've been overpaying your taxes all year and needlessly living on less of your paycheck the whole time.
For example, if you got a $3,000 tax refund, you've been giving up $250 a month all year. Could having an extra $250 every month have helped with the bills? If you want to get that money now rather than later, you can adjust your withholdings by giving your employer a new IRS Form W-4.
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