IRS Where’s My Refund?: 13 Most Common Questions Answered

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It’s that time of the year when tax refunds are near. Even better, there’s the IRS Where’s My Refund? option where you can see where in the process your refund is.

Around 90% of the taxpayers file tax returns online. Many of them use TaxActTaxSlayer, and FreeTaxUSA.

While this feature has become so popular lately, there have been questions and errors that people are having.

Believe it or not:

There are a lot of people saying that the IRS Where’s My Refund? feature isn’t reliable. Of course, different people have different experiences with that.

But one thing is for sure:

You can get your IRS refund status easily and fast.

In this post, I list down some frequently asked questions people have. This way, by the time you do your taxes and check your refund, you somehow know what to expect and what the answers are to your questions.

Just so you know: According to the White House, the IRS is still going to issue refunds even when there's a partial government shutdown.

IRS where's my refund?

IRS Where's My Refund?: The Most Common Questions and Best Answers

Here are some of the most common questions people ask about their IRS refund status.


1. What time does the IRS update where's my refund?

IRS updates tax return statuses only once a day during the week on Wednesday between midnight and 6 am.

If you e-file your tax return, wait at least 72 hours from the date that the IRS confirms the receipt of your return before checking your IRS refund status.

You can also call the IRS at 1-800-829-4477, 1-800-829-1954, or 1-800-829-1040 and ask about the IRS refund status.


2. How long does it take to get your tax refund direct deposit?

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced that it will begin processing tax returns this January 28, 2019.

In general, IRS returns with refunds are processed and payments are issued within 21 days. For paper filers, however, processing and payment can take much longer.

Did you know? You can file your return for FREE and earn up to $100 bonus with TaxAct


3. What does it mean when the IRS says your refund is being processed?

In your IRS Where’s My Refund? screen, when you see your refund is “being processed,” it means the IRS has to process your return first and, then, approve your refund. It doesn’t mean that when IRS accepts your return that it is approved for refund payment.

While most refunds are issued in 21 days or even less, it’s possible your tax return may take longer as it may require additional review.

Related: 14 Genius Ways How to Get Free Money Fast ($4,000) in 2019


4. Will my refund be delayed if I owe back taxes?

When you owe taxes, the IRS will pay itself first. If you owe money to the IRS, this means that your refund will be less than what you anticipate.

Also, the Department of the Treasury offsets any non-tax debt you have (e.g. delinquent student loans) using its Treasury Offset Program.

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5. What are the common filing errors to avoid when filing your tax returns?

Before you even check the IRS Where’s My Refund?, you need to make sure that you don’t make the following errors. If you do, chances are your online return will be delayed or returned. Here are nine of the most common filing errors to avoid based on the IRS:

  • Missing or inaccurate SSN
  • Misspelled names
  • Filing status errors
  • Math mistakes – This will be avoided when you’re using online tax platforms like TaxActTaxSlayer, and FreeTaxUSA.
  • Errors in figuring out tax credits or deductions
  • Incorrect bank account numbers
  • Forms not signed – online tax platforms will help you prevent this
  • Electronic filing PIN errors. For more information on verifying identity and electronically sign their tax returns, click here.
  • Filing with an expired ITIN

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6. What if it’s been more than 21 days and no refund?

Through the Where’s My Refund? portal, you can check in the system your tax return within 24 hours after the agency has received your online filed tax return.

IRS states that you should only call if you’ve been waiting for your refund for longer than 21 days.

irs where's my refund?, irs refund status

7. Does the IRS process refunds during on weekends?

Yes. The IRS states that it issues most refunds within 21 days. This means that weekends are included.

Related: Make Money From Home: 22 Easy “Need Money Now” Tips ($3,000/Mo)


8. I closed my bank account, which is what I used to receive my refund. What's going to happen?

If you set up your refund to be direct deposited to a closed account, the bank will return the funds to the IRS. The IRS, then, will issue you a paper check, which could delay your refund up to 10 weeks.


9. What if my bank rejected the refund?

If your bank rejects the refund, the funds will be returned to the IRS. When the funds have been returned, the IRS will issue you a paper check.


10. How long does it take to reissue a refund?

In the case of a paper check, if you lost your IRS refund check or failed to cash it in before the 1-year expiration date, you can call the IRS hotline at 1-800-829-1954 to request for a refund trace.

The Bureau of Fiscal Service may need to review the claim before it can reissue another check. This process could take up to six to ten weeks.


11. Can I direct deposit my tax refund to someone else's account?

Should you decided to use someone else's account information, there is a chance the bank will reject the IRS's direct deposit because the name on the refund does not match the name of the account holder.

When this case happens, your refund will be returned to the IRS. The IRS, then, will cut you a paper check and that will be sent via mail.

Related: Save Money Fast: The 14 Best Money Tips Ever (Up to $10,000)


12. Does IRS direct deposit refunds over $15,000?

The IRS doesn't have any limit as to how much it can direct deposit.

That said, refunds can only be direct-deposited to the account that bears holder's name. If the account where the refund is under your name and it's your tax refund that you are expecting, then, the funds will be deposited to your account.

However, if the account is not yours or you are just using someone else's account, chances are your refund will be returned and a paper check will be issued instead.


13. How long does it take for the tax refund direct deposit to clear?

It can take between 1 and 5 days for your bank to deposit funds into your account. When you go to Where’s My Refund? and you see “Refund Sent”, it means that the tax refund has been sent to your bank for direct deposit.

Related: Craziest Ways People Have Legally Avoided Paying Taxes


Final thoughts:

Where's My Refund? is such a good tool you can use to track your refund. You know exactly where your refund is.

It's no longer that time when you had to wait for a long time if the IRS received your return, accepted it, processed it, etc. Now, you can view everything that's going on with IRS Where's My Refund? tool.

Now, you can find your IRS refund status anywhere and anytime.

Please let me know what your experience is with this tool? Do you have any other questions that you didn't see answered above?

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