How soon you receive a refund from the IRS depends on when and how you file your taxes.
Most people dread filing their taxes — but nearly everyone is hoping for a refund. Procrastinators have a couple of extra days to file their return this year, as Tax Day falls on April 17 instead of the standard April 15.
The Internal Revenue Service reports that about 83% of tax returns result in refunds. If you're one of the lucky ones who can expect to get money back this year, you may be wondering exactly when you will receive your refund.
The short answer is almost certainly within three weeks of when you file your taxes. But there are ways to get it sooner.
Filing online is the quickest way to get your tax refund. Using snail mail will get the job done but take more time.
For a quicker refund, the IRS suggests you e-file and request your refund via direct deposit, the chosen method for most taxpayers. The IRS says direct deposit — which the government also uses for Social Security and Veterans Affairs payments — is "simple, safe, and secure."
If you filed electronically, you should receive a refund within 21 days. The IRS updates its system daily, usually overnight.
The traditional paper-and-pencil option means, in most cases, your refund will arrive within six weeks of of filing. If it doesn't, an error or incompletion may be holding up the process.
Taxpayers can check the status of their tax refund using the IRS's return-tracking service within 24 hours of filing your tax return online — but to do so, you'll need three things:
The IRS also says the earned income tax credit and the additional child tax credit cannot be issued until mid-February as a means to protect against identity theft and tax fraud. Those refunds will be ready as soon as February 27.
The new Republican tax law will not change the tax-filing process this year — it goes into effect for income earned in 2018, meaning you'll see the effects when you file your taxes next year.