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When to expect your tax refund

It's not quite as exciting as the Christmas Day countdown, but the clock there in the ol' blog's left column is ticking away toward the day we must file our 2011 tax return or send in an extension request.

The good news is that we get a bit more time this year.

April 15 falls on a Sunday. Then the next business day is the Emancipation Day holiday in Washington, D.C.

So our 1040s aren't due until April 17.

Waiting on the refund: But the real attention is paid every filing season to just when we can expect our tax refunds.

Well, the IRS has some dates on that subject, too.

According to its annual E-file Refund Cycle Chart, returns submitted when electronic filing opens on Jan. 17 will be available on Jan. 25 if the money is directly deposited into a bank account.

IRS 2012 Efile Refund Cycle Chart Click the image for a larger PDF view.

E-filers who want a paper refund check -- and there are a few who gladly send the IRS their filing info online, but don't want to give Uncle Sam their bank account numbers even to get refund money a bit sooner -- will have to wait a couple more days. An actual check won't be put into the mail until Jan. 27.

Now the IRS is quick to point out that this chart is essentially a guesstimate.

The fine-print footnote at the bottom of the table states:

"This is the projected date that the refund will be direct deposited or mailed. It may take up to 5 additional days for the financial institution to post the refund to your account, or for mail delivery."

But it does give you some idea of when you'll be able to buy whatever it is you've been waiting to purchase until you got your tax refund.

And it also will let you know when you can start checking the IRS' Where's My Refund online tracking tool.

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Jan 17 and Jan 18, 2012: DD 7-8 days, PC 9-10 days?
I DD/efiled the 17th and I'm still waiting...COME ON IRS...PEOPLE NEED THERE REFUNDS!


If you eFile:

1) Direct Deposit (DD) will arrive within 7 to 13 days.

2) Paper Check (PC) will arrive within 9 to 15 days.

The only date ranges where this does not apply are:

Jan 17 and Jan 18, 2012: DD 7-8 days, PC 9-10 days
Dec 13 and Dec 26, 2012: DD 8-14 days, PC 12-18 days.

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