3501 Tully Road Suite B • Modesto CA 95356
(209) 526-3091 • (209) 526-2287

08 Feb

Where's My Refund?

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With tax season slowly underway and the average tax refund being around $2,957*, we are often asked “Where’s my refund?”

We know that you work hard for your money and, oftentimes, a tax refund may be the biggest check you get all year or the one you wait on to go on that vacation to Hawaii. Here is what happens after the e-file button is pushed and how to check the status of your tax refund.


E-filed tax returns with direct deposit: E-filing returns with direct deposit is the fastest way to get your tax refund. The IRS states that 9 out of 10 e-filed tax returns with direct deposit will be processed within 21 days of the IRS e-file acceptance.

Mailed paper returns: Refund processing times for a mailed paper return is 6 to 8 weeks from the date the IRS receives your tax return (add an additional 2-3 weeks to receive your refund if you opted for a check instead of direct deposit).

  1. 1. Status available within 24-48 hours. Once your return has been e-filed, you can check the status on the go by using the IRS Where's My Refund? website. If you paper file your return, you can begin checking the status after 4 weeks. You will need your SSN, refund amount and filing status.
  2. 2. Return received notification. The IRS Where's My Refund? tool will update to "Return Received" once they begin processing your tax return. You will not see a refund date until the IRS has completed processing your return or approved your refund.
  3. 3. Status change to "Refund Approved." Once the IRS has finished processing your return and confirms your tax refund is approved, your status will change from "Return Received" to "Refund Approved." Sometimes the change in status can take a few days, but it could take longer.
  4. 4. Refund date issued. The IRS will provide a refund date once your status moves to "Refund Approved." The IRS issues 9 out of 10 refunds within 21 days of acceptance of e-file with direct deposit.
  5. 5. Status change to "Refund Sent." If your status changes to "Refund Sent," the IRS has sent your tax refund to your financial institution for direct deposit. It can take 1 to 5 days for your financial institution to deposit the funds into your account. If you requested a check to be mailed to you, it can take several weeks to receive your refund.


It’s been longer than 21 days since the IRS has received my tax return and I have not received my tax refund.  What’s happening?
Some tax returns take longer than others to process depending on your tax situation.  Some of the reasons it may take longer are:
- includes errors,
- is incomplete,
- needs further review,
- is impacted by identity theft or fraud,
- includes Form 8379, Injured Spouse Allocation, which could take up to 14 weeks to process.

Will calling the IRS help me get my refund any faster?
No, the IRS phone and walk-in representatives can only research the status of a refund if it has been more than 21 days since you e-filed (or 6 weeks since you mailed your paper return). If more information is required, the IRS will contact you by mail.

I requested a direct deposit refund and it is now being mailed as a paper check. Why?
Your refund should only be deposited directly into accounts that are in your own name, your spouse's name or both, if it's a joint account. These are some of the reasons a financial institution may reject a direct deposit, resulting in a paper check. Also, no more than three electronic refunds can be directly deposited into a single financial account or pre-paid debit card. Taxpayers who exceed the limit will receive an IRS notice and a paper refund.

  1. Contact us if you have any questions or need help contacting the IRS.

*Based on IRS information from 12/25/15

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Clendenin Bird & Company, PC
3501 Tully Road Suite B • Modesto CA 95356
(209) 526-3091 • (209) 526-2287