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Why Is It Taking So Long To Get My Tax Refund?

  Sanjiv Gupta CPA  Published 
Why Is It Taking So Long To Get My Tax Refund?

You filed your taxes early this year but you still have not received your refund. Are you worried because in the past years you have gotten it a lot quicker?

Do not get stressed out because tax returns started getting processed later this year because of the government shutdown of 2013. The tax returns are being processed in the order they were received so if you filed early, you will be receiving your refund shortly. If you filed recently, understand that they have to process all of the refunds that were received first before they can get to yours.

Even though direct deposit refunds are received much quicker than check refunds, the refund is not processed instantaneously. You still have to wait until tax returns filed before yours are processed.

You do not have to bug the mailman looking for your refund check if you did not elect direct deposit. There are ways that are much more productive to track down the cash the IRS owes you. You can track your refund online, by phone or using your smartphone.

The Waiting Game

The Internal Revenue Service has made it really easy to track down your tax refund; however, you need to give the IRS time to process the return.

If you filed electronically, you can find out the status of your tax return within 24 hours of the IRS receiving your tax return. If you mailed your tax return, you need to wait 4 weeks before you are able to track it.

The IRS requests that you do not call too much or too early. They want to ensure that convenient tracking tools are available to all tax filers when they need the service.

In general, tax refunds are processed within approximately 21 days after the IRS receives the tax return. You should only start tracking your refund if you have been waiting longer than that. The best time to call is on the weekend or in the evening. The system is updated only 1 time each day so you should only check one time each day.

What Information Will You Need To Track Your Refund?

To begin tracking your tax refund you will need the following information:

  • Your Social Security number
  • Your filing status
  • The amount of the tax refund you are expecting

If you filed a joint tax return, use the name and Social Security number of the person listed first on the return.

Do not round the tax refund amount. The IRS tracking program wants the exact amount you are expecting to receive in dollars and cents.

How Can I Track My Refund Online?

Visit the Internal Revenue website, Use the “Where’s My Refund” link. The program will open up and you can enter the necessary data. Once everything is entered, all you have to do is click and you will find out the status of your refund.

How Can I Track My Refund By Phone?

You may also call the IRS’s toll-free phone number, 1-800-829-1954, to track your refund. This line is dedicated to providing status reports for tax refunds for taxpayers. The phone system will prompt you to enter the necessary data.

Both the online system and the phone system have the same information about your tax return status. Feel free to use whichever method you prefer.