IRS explores a new no-cost, online tax filing system
Oct. 16 is new tax deadline for residents in California, Alabama & Georgia disaster areas

Where's your tax refund? Use IRS online tracker to find out


Where's your tax refund? Use the IRS' online tracker to find out

The first look at 2023 tax filing data revealed that while returns were coming in at a brisker pace than last year, the average tax refund amount was smaller.

That's still true, three weeks into the season.

The average refund amount issued for the week ending Feb. 17 is less than at the same period in 2022. Again.

However, that comparatively smaller refund so far this year actually is a decent amount, specifically $3,140.

I haven't filed yet, so I don't know what my refund will be. (Who am I kidding? Like always, I'll owe Uncle Sam a little. That's one reason I haven't filed yet.) But I do know that I could find a way to spend three+ grand. That's why $3,140 is this weekend's By the Numbers figure.

If you, however, got your 1040 to the Internal Revenue Service early this year and are still waiting on your refund, here are some tips on tracking it down using the IRS' Where's My Refund? online tool.

Refunds info update schedule: The Where's My Refund? tracker at gets your information when the IRS processes your tax return and approves your refund amount. The tracker is also available using the agency's IRS2Go mobile app.

Your refund status will be accessible usually within 24 hours of your return's processing and approval. Note that since Where's My Refund? now can find your refund status for three tax years, you'll need to check the tax year of the refund you're looking for, with the most current filing showing up first.

The IRS also wants you not to be too impatient to get the status of your refund. Refund data is updated once a day, overnight. So multiple checks in one day won't do you any good.

The IRS also notes that the system is not available every Monday from 12 a.m. (midnight) to 3 a.m. That's Eastern Time, so adjust for your time zone. The system also may be inaccessible on Sundays from 1-7 a.m., again ET.

And if you snail mailed a paper return, you'll need to be even more Zen. The IRS asks that you please allow four weeks before checking the status of your taxes filed the old-fashioned

What you need to use the tracker: OK, you've waited the requisite time. Now to check on when you'll get your tax cash.

But before you head to Where's My Refund? (that's a screenshot below, not the tool itself), make sure you're ready for the tracking process.

Wheres my refund screenshot1

You'll need to have handy your, Social Security or taxpayer ID number, your filing status, and the exact refund amount shown on your Form 1040.

If you and your spouse filed a joint return, you can use either filer's Social Security number.

You selected your filing status (one of five options) by checking a box near the top of the tax form you used.

And speaking of forms, you can find your refund amount on line 35a of Form 1040, Form 1040-SR (used by older taxpayers), or Form 1040-NR (filed by nonresident alien taxpayers). It's on line 14a if you filed Form 1040-PR (used by self-employed Puerto Rican filers) or Form 1040-SS (used by certain U.S. territory residents to report self-employment income).

What you'll learn: Once your refund data is entered into the tracker, here's what you'll learn from it.

The tracker displays progress through three stages — return received, refund approved, and refund sent.

Those stages are pretty self-explanatory, but just to be sure you know what you're getting from Where's My Refund?, here's what each stage indicator means.

  1. Received indicates that the IRS has your tax return and is working on it.
  2. Approved means the IRS has processed your return and if you're due a refund, has confirmed the amount you'll get.
  3. Sent is the status most tracking tool user want. This means the IRS has sent your refund to your bank (or other financial account) if you provided direct deposit information, or has issues a paper U.S. Treasury check that's on its way to your U.S. Postal Service mailbox.

You also might get an unwanted answer from Where's My Refund? The tracker will let you know that the IRS has rejected your return. The most common rejection is because of filing errors.

In situations where the IRS determines your return needs corrections or extra review, the agency will contact you by mailing you a notice asking for any additional information necessary to process your return.

Direct deposit recommended: The IRS has long recommended that taxpayers file electronically and have their refunds directly deposited. That will cut your refund wait time in half, from six weeks to three, says the tax agency.

But while direct deposit is the fastest way to get your tax refund, and official federal payments usually clear quickly, the process is not instantaneous.

So after the IRS' Where's My Refund? tells you your money is on the way, check with your bank, too, to make sure that it has received or is in the process of getting it, and exactly when you can access the full amount.

You also might find these items of interest:







Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

The comments to this entry are closed.