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When Can I Expect to Receive My Tax Refund This Year?

The IRS warned that tax refunds could be delayed by as much as a week compared to initial projections. The agency is working on “fine-tuning” their anti-fraud safeguard systems which may delay refunds for certain taxpayers. When exactly can I expect to receive my refund and how do I track it?

proposed-millionaires-taxWhat do I need to do?
The crucial question for tracking your return is whether you filed electronically or by U.S. mail. 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’s 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.

How will I receive my refund?
You can opt to receive your refund by direct deposit, a paper check, or to buy Series I Savings Bonds. On your return you should have specified if you want to receive the refund as one direct deposit, which can take as little as 10 days to receive but up to 21 days. If you want the refund to be divvied up among up two or three accounts, or you want to purchase savings bonds, you should have filled out Form 8888.

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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