Track My Refund: How to Check Your IRS Tax Refund Status

Start with the 'Where's My Refund' IRS page if you've already filed; if you haven't, we have tips for getting a faster payment.
Tina Orem
Sabrina Parys
By Sabrina Parys and  Tina Orem 
Tax refund

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Nerdy takeaways
  • If you're looking for your tax refund, use the IRS' "Where's My Refund" tracker first.

  • To check your refund's status you'll need your Social Security number, filing status, and the amount of money you're owed as a refund.

  • If you filed your taxes online and your return is free from errors, you should expect your refund within 21 days.

Nerdy takeaways
  • If you're looking for your tax refund, use the IRS' "Where's My Refund" tracker first.

  • To check your refund's status you'll need your Social Security number, filing status, and the amount of money you're owed as a refund.

  • If you filed your taxes online and your return is free from errors, you should expect your refund within 21 days.


The days can seem to drag on when you're waiting for your tax refund to arrive, and watching the clock doesn't necessarily help. However, it's understandable to want to stay on top of your tax return's status, and there are several ways you can track your refund.

A good place to start is to use the "Where's My Refund" page offered by the IRS. You can track your refund there using some basic information from your tax return. If you haven't filed yet, there are steps you can take to set yourself up for a faster payment, such as filing electronically.

IRS. Where's My Refund?. Accessed Mar 14, 2023.

Here's a guide to tracking the status of your tax return, plus some important things you need to know about getting a faster federal or state tax refund.

» Looking for your state return? How to track your state tax return

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Where's my refund? Tracking your IRS refund status

The IRS' "Where's My Refund" tracker is the fastest way to check on the status of your federal tax return and refund. The agency updates the tracker once per day, usually overnight. You can start checking on your tax refund status 24 hours after e-filing your return and between four weeks to six months after mailing a paper return.

To check on the status of your refund, you'll need to have three items prepared: your Social Security number (or taxpayer identification number), filing status, and the amount of money due back to you as a refund.

The tracker will display where in the process your return is — return acceptance, refund approval or refund sent. And if there is a delay or an issue with your return, the tracker may ask you to contact the IRS.

Click on the button below to go right to the IRS's refund tracker for federal tax refunds. You can also check the status of your refund on your smartphone by downloading the IRS's mobile app, IRS2go, or by calling the agency's automated refund hotline at 800-829-1954.

If you submitted a prior-year return (2020 or 2021), you can typically see your refund status on the WMR tool three to four days after e-filing your return. If you need to check the status of your amended return, there's a different tracker for that.

When to expect your federal tax refund

The IRS does not have an official tax refund calendar or schedule, but the agency does provide basic guidelines for when you might expect your refund.

For the 2023 filing season, taxpayers who e-file an error-free tax return should expect their refund within 21 days, per the IRS. Paper returns submitted by mail may require more processing time, which can delay refunds by up to six months.

Why haven't I received my tax refund?

There are a few reasons why your refund may be delayed. One of the most common culprits is submitting a return that contains an error, such as the wrong Social Security number or providing incorrect direct deposit information. The IRS could also be holding up your refund if it requires additional review or was incomplete.

If you're an early filer who claimed the earned income tax credit or the additional child tax credit, the IRS could not issue your tax refund before mid-February by law. But if you filed early and did everything correctly, the agency estimates that you should have received your refund already.

The IRS also periodically posts updates about the status of operations on its website.

If you find yourself still waiting on your refund after 21 days of e-filing and six weeks of mailing your return with no updates made to either the Where's My Refund tracker or your online IRS account, you can try to call the agency's main hotline for more information.


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Estimate your 2023 IRS tax refund date

While there's no official IRS refund calendar, the agency gives some rough estimates of when you can expect to actually see your refund. Again, keep in mind that the IRS deposit dates will vary based on how and when you file your taxes.

Use the tax refund estimator below to get a general idea of when you might expect your refund. The estimator assumes that direct deposits may take up to three days to process and that the U.S. Postal Service may take up to seven days to send a paper check.

Where's my state tax refund? How to track your state refund status

If you're wondering where your state tax refund is, you'll be relieved to know that most states have their own refund trackers. Find your state in the drop-down below to go right to its tax refund tracker so you can find out where your state refund is.

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 2023, the agency says that it may take up to six months to process paper returns, some of which may need to be manually keyed into the system once received.

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.

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 longer.) 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's main number (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 a tax refund tells you 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.

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