Where is my IRS refund?

According to the IRS, refunds are generally issued within 21 days after a tax return is electronically filed or within 42 days after paper returns are mailed. If you filed your federal tax return and expect to get a refund, but it’s taking too long, you may be wondering: where’s my IRS refund?

Here we explain how to check the status of your refund check when it’s taking longer than expected.

How long does it take to receive an IRS refund?

Typically, most refunds are issued in less than 21 days.

However, the IRS may take longer to issue a refund, especially when a return:

  • Needs further review in general
  • Is incomplete
  • Is affected by identity theft or fraud
  • Includes a claim filed for an Earned Income Tax Credit or an Additional Child Tax Credit
  • Includes a Form 8379, Injured Spouse Allocation, which could take up to 14 weeks to process

How to check your federal tax refund status

Once you send your tax return, you can start checking on the status of your refund within:

  • 24 hours after e-filing a tax year 2021 return.
  • 3 or 4 days after e-filing a tax year 2019 or 2020 return.
  • 4 weeks after mailing a paper return.

You can check the status of your IRS refund in two ways: electronically or by phone.

Using the Where’s My Refund tool

The fastest and easiest way to find out your refund status is by using the Where’s My Refund tool. If you are using a mobile device, you can download the IRS2Go app to check your refund status.

In order to check your refund status, you will need to have the following on hand:

  • Social Security Number.
  • Filing status.
  • Your exact refund amount

This IRS tool will display the refund status of the tax year you choose. If you need other return information, such as payment history, prior year adjusted gross income, or other tax record, you should view your Online Account.

Calling the IRS

If you prefer, you can also check the status of your refund by calling an IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center. You can find the phone number of your local IRS office navigating by states and cities from here.

However, you should call the IRS only if:

  • It’s been more than 21 days since you e-filed your tax return.
  • It’s been more than 42 days since you mailed your paper tax return.
  • The Where’s My Refund tool says the IRS may provide more information to you over the phone.

What if my refund was lost, stolen, or destroyed?

If this situation applies to you, you can file a claim online to request a replacement check if it has been more than 28 days from the date the IRS mailed your refund.

You can check the Where’s My Refund tool for detailed information on how to file a claim if your refund is lost, stolen, or destroyed.