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When Can I Expect My 2013 Tax Refund?

The IRS began accepting tax returns on January 31st. As such, those tax filers that overpaid taxes throughout the year are likely eager to obtain their federal and state tax refunds. When can you expect to receive your refund after filing your return? Also, should you expect any delays?

when-can-i-expect-my-tax-refundWhen can I expect my refund?
The answer to this question depends on how you elected to file your tax return and receive your refund. When you file your tax return, you will be given an option to receive your refund by direct deposit, paper check, or to buy Savings Bonds. Most taxpayers that e-file and elect to be paid via direct deposit can expect to receive their federal tax refund within 10 to 14 days after the return is accepted. If you don’t receive your federal tax return after 21 days, then you may need to contact the IRS. If you filed a paper tax return and elected to be paid in the mail, it will take much longer. Usually, it will take 4 to 6 weeks in that case.

How can I track my refund?
You can track your refund on the IRS site called Where’s My Refund, but the length of time it takes for the information to appear varies greatly depending on how you filed. If you filed electronically, information about your refund will generally appear 72 hours after the IRS acknowledges receipt of your return. However, if you sent your return by mail, it will take three to four weeks for a status update. If there‚Äôs no information yet, check back each Wednesday. You need to input your Social Security number, filing status (single, married filing jointly, etc.), and amount you’re owed to access the information.

Any chance your refund may be delayed?
It’s always a possibility. Right now, the biggest threat is the debt ceiling issue which may mean that the government has to take “extraordinary measures” to send tax refunds to taxpayers on time.

What about your state tax refund?
It’s important to note that your state tax refund is processed by the state. As such, the delivery times will vary greatly by the state in which you filed as well as the type of filing and method elected to receive the refund. As a general rule, you have the best chance of receiving your state tax refund quickly if you e-file and elect to be paid via direct deposit.

What if I get a suspicious email from the IRS about my refund?
There has been a lot of identity theft going around related to tax refunds. Keep in mind that the IRS does not initiate email communications with taxpayers. If you receive an unsolicited email purporting to be from the IRS, be on guard. If you receive an email asking for personal information, the IRS urges consumers to not reply to the email, open any attachments or click on any links. Fraudsters use these scams to steal your assets or identity. Forward suspicious emails to the IRS at

More Tax Questions? Browse Answers or ask tax refund questions online.

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