After you file your federal income tax refund, it can take days if not weeks before your refund check arrives in the mail, or credits your bank account via direct deposit. During that time you might second guess yourself wondering if the IRS received your paper tax forms, or if that free e-file you sent late Sunday night was received. For some time now the IRS has provided a federal income tax refund status online check tool called "Where's My Refund?" Here's how you can use this tool to check your federal income tax refund status.
Where's My Refund?
The federal income tax refund status online look up tool requires that you enter a few pieces of information. Hopefully you kept a copy of those 1040EZ, 1040A or 1040 income tax forms that you filed. To check the status of your federal income tax refund, you will need to have or be able to guess the following information from your income tax return:
- Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).
- Filing status - Single, Married Filing Joint Return, Head of Household, etc.
- Exact whole dollar amount of your federal income tax refund.
Below is a quick snapshot of the "Where's My Refund?" online web page.
Federal Income Tax Refund Status
How soon you can lookup your federal income tax refund status varies. If you e-file your income tax forms, you should be able to check your refund status after 72 hours (3 days). If you mailed in paper income tax forms, then you may need to wait 3 weeks or more before you will find your information using this IRS tool. Keep in mind that you can only look up an income tax refund filed this year, or within the last six months of last year.
This year the IRS will start accepting e-file on 1/17/2012. While TurboTax and H&Block will prepare your income tax refund before the e-file acceptance date, no service can transmit your data until the official open. In other words, don't try to look up your federal income tax refund status prior to 1/17 plus 72 hours!
This year the IRS estimates a 7 to 14 day wait time if you e-file online and select the direct deposit option.
After your wait period, visit www.irs.gov and click on the "Where's My Refund?" image on the right side menu to get started.