On May 25, the Internal Revenue Service announced an important enhancement to their Where’s My Refund? online tool. You can now check the status of the current tax year and two previous years’ refunds. If you’re still waiting on a refund, here’s what you need to know.
About The Where’s My Refund? Tool
The Where’s My Refund? tool was developed in 2002 and was used by taxpayers more than 776 million times in 2021. It’s also one of the most popular online features available from IRS.
You can access the tool on IRS.gov and the IRS2Go mobile app. It allows you to track your refund through three stages:
- Return received
- Refund approved
- Refund sent
Previously, it only displayed the status of the most recently filed tax return within the past two tax years. Now, you can select any of the three most recent tax years to check your refund status. Before you access the tool, however, you’ll need the following:
- Your Social Security number or ITIN,
- Filing status, and
- Expected refund amount from the original filed tax return for the tax year your checking.
When to Check Your Refund Status
You can start checking the status of your refund within:
- 24 hours after e-filing your 2021 return.
- Three or four days after e-filing your 2019 or 2020 tax return.
- Four weeks after mailing any of these returns.
The tool is updated once a day, usually overnight, and gives you a projected refund issuance date as soon as it’s approved.
“We encourage those who expect a refund, but requested an extension, to file as soon as they’re ready. We process returns on a first-in basis, so the sooner the better,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “There’s really no reason to wait until October 17 if filers have the relevant information to file now. Free File is still available for extension recipients to use to prepare and file their federal tax return for free.”
Electronic filing is open 24/7 and the IRS continues to receive returns and issue refunds.
When Should You Contact The IRS?
There’s no need to call the IRS to check on your refund status unless it has been more than 21 days since your return was e-filed, more than 6 weeks since you mailed your return, or the tool says the IRS can provide more information by phone.
If the IRS needs additional information to process your return, you’ll be contacted by mail.
Tax refunds that include the Recovery Rebate Credit, Earned Income Tax Credit, or the Additional Child Tax Credit may take up to 120 days to issue.
For more information about checking the status of a tax refund, please visit Where’s My Refund?