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When Will I Get My Tax Refund From the IRS?

Kimberly Lankford

It usually takes three weeks or less to get your refund, and you can use the IRS tracking tool to check the status.



Yes, you can file your 2015 tax return now. You should have received the forms you need—your W-2s and 1099s—by the end of January. The tax-filing deadline is April 18, 2016, but it's a good idea to file as soon as possible, especially if you're getting a refund. Not only will you get your money faster, but you're less likely to become a victim of tax identity theft. See Beat the Bad Guys to Your Tax Refund in 2016 for more information.

See Our Slide Show: 9 Tax Breaks for the Middle Class

The IRS generally processes e-filed returns within 21 days, but it can take six to eight weeks to process a mailed paper return after the date it is received. You can check on the status of your refund by using the IRS's Where's My Refund? tool. You'll need to provide your Social Security number, your filing status and the exact amount of the refund shown on your tax return. You can start to use the tool within 24 hours after the IRS receives an e-filed return, or four weeks after the IRS receives a mailed paper return. The tool can show you when the IRS receives your return, when the refund is approved and when the refund is sent. For more information, see the IRS's 2016 Tax Season Refund FAQs.

You'll also get your money faster if you have the IRS deposit your refund directly rather than send you a paper check. You can have the money deposited into a checking or savings account, including a Roth or traditional IRA or the government's new myRA, which is a type of no-fee IRA for new investors. You can even have your refund deposited into a health savings account, a Coverdell education savings account or a TreasuryDirect account for U.S. savings bonds. Or you can use up to $5,000 from the refund to buy series I U.S. savings bonds.

You'll need to provide the checking, savings or other account number and the financial institution's routing number when you file your taxes. See the instructions for Form 1040, line 76, for more information. You can have the refund deposited directly into as many as three accounts; file Form 8888, Allocation of Refund, if you'd like to send your refund to more than one account or have some of the refund deposited directly and a portion sent to you in a check.

See Also: How to Keep Your Tax Refund Safe

Got a question? Ask Kim at askkim@kiplinger.com.



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