"Where's My Refund?" Tool Best Way to Check Tax Refund Status

From the IRS | IR-2017-62: Tax Time Guide | March 16, 2017

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) reminds taxpayers that while more than 90 percent of federal tax refunds are issued in 21 days or less, some refunds may take longer. Many factors can affect the timing of a refund after the IRS receives the return. Also, taxpayers should take into consideration the time it takes a financial institution to post the refund to an account or for it to arrive in the mail. The best way to check the status of a refund is online through the "Where's My Refund?" tool at www.IRS.gov or via the IRS2Go. mobile app.

Taxpayers eager to know when their refund will be arriving should use the "Where's My Refund?" tool rather than calling the IRS and waiting on hold or ordering a tax transcript. The IRS updates the status of refunds once a day, usually overnight, so checking more than once a day will not produce new information. "Where's My Refund?" has the same information available to IRS telephone assistors so there is no need to call unless requested to do so by "Where's My Refund?"

Contrary to a myth rumored in social media, ordering a tax transcript will not help taxpayers find out when they will get their refund. The IRS notes that the information on a transcript does not necessarily reflect the amount or timing of a refund. While taxpayers can use a transcript to validate past income and tax filing status for mortgage, student and small business loan applications and to help with tax preparation, they should use "Where's My Refund?" to check the status of their refund.

"Where's My Refund?" can be checked 24 hours after the IRS has received an e-filed return or four weeks after receipt of a mailed paper return. "Where's My Refund?" has a tracker that displays progress through three stages: (1) Return Received; (2) Refund Approved and (3) Refund Sent.

Users who access "Where's My Refund?" on www.IRS.gov or the IRS2Go. app must have information from their current, pending tax return to access their refund information.