Where’s My Refund? How to Track the Status of Your Tax Refund

How to track the status of your federal tax refund and state tax refund — plus tips about timing.
Tina Orem
Sabrina Parys
By Sabrina Parys and  Tina Orem 
Tax refund

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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 four weeks 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 2023, 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 2022 return.

  • 3 to 4 days after e-filing a 2020 and 2021 return.

  • 4 weeks 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.

Internal Revenue Service. Where's My Refund?. Accessed Sep 27, 2022.

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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.

🤓Nerdy Tip

If you claimed the earned income tax credit or the additional 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. This year, the agency is estimating that early EITC or ACTC filers could begin seeing refunds hit their bank accounts by February 28, 2023.

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 2023, the agency is still taking up to 6 months to process paper returns as it continues to work through a pandemic-related backlog.

Internal Revenue Service. When Should You Call the IRS?. Accessed Sep 27, 2022.
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.

Frequently asked questions

According to the IRS, the agency issues most refunds within 21 days of filing online or six months of mailing your paper return, but a few circumstances could delay processing. Math errors or missing information are common culprits that can lead to longer waiting times. Here are a few more tax-filing mistakes to look out for.

If you're due a refund, don't file an amended return until you receive the refund per the IRS. If you're not due a refund and need to correct a mistake, you can file an amended tax return using IRS Form 1040-X. Here's how to do it.

Yes. Simply provide your direct deposit account information on your Form 1040 or 1040-SR when you file. If you file IRS Form 8888 with your tax return, you can even tell the IRS to split the money up and deposit it into as many as three different investment accounts. Here's how to do it.

If you're behind on your taxes, the IRS will withhold what you owe from your federal tax refund. You'll get a letter from the IRS explaining what it adjusted.

One way is to qualify for more tax deductions and tax credits. They can be huge money-savers — if you know what they are, how they work and how to pursue them. Here's a list of 20 popular ones to get you started.

But beware of big tax refunds. They're a direct result of overpaying your taxes all year, and that often happens because you're having too much tax withheld from your paychecks. Get that money in your hands now (instead of having to wait until tax time to get it) by adjusting your Form W-4 at work. Here's how to do it.

  • Federal: $24.95 to $64.95. Free version available for simple tax returns only.

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