Where's My Refund? How to Track Your Tax Refund Status
Where's My Refund lets you track the status of your tax return. Here's what you need to know.
You can easily check your refund status with the IRS’s "Where's My Refund" portal. Although the average tax refund is lower this year compared to last, it is about $2,878 (as of April 7), so it makes sense that you want to know when you will get your money.
As of the week ending on April 7, 2023, the IRS had processed more than 100 million tax returns, but of course, the agency still has more to process (and more refunds to issue). You can track your 2022 tax return, starting as soon as the IRS accepts it.
IRS “Where’s My Refund” Status
The "Where's My Refund" tool can show the status of your tax refund as early as 24 hours after the IRS receives your e-filed return or four weeks after you mail a paper return.
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In most cases, the “Where’s My Refund” tool will show you one of three refund statuses.
- Received: The IRS has your tax return and is processing it
- Approved: The IRS is preparing to send your refund
- Sent: Your refund money is on its way
If the IRS is still reviewing your return, the tool may display instructions or an explanation of what the IRS is doing instead of these statuses. You might see Tax Topic 152, which just means that the IRS is still processing your return. Once your refund is processed and approved, the tool will give you an estimated date when you'll get your payment.
If you chose direct deposit for your tax refund, it can take five or more days after the IRS sends the payment for it to show in your bank account. Some banks will credit funds more quickly than others. If you're getting a paper check, it could take a few weeks before you receive it in the mail.
"Where's My Refund" is only updated once per day – usually at night – so there's no need to check your status more often.
(Note: You can also download and use the IRS2Go app to check your tax refund status on a mobile device.)
How to Track IRS Refunds
To access the "Where's My Refund" tool, you need to enter your Social Security number (or individual taxpayer identification number), the filing status used on your 2022 tax return, and the exact whole dollar refund amount shown on your 2022 return.
If you filed a joint return, you can use either spouse's Social Security number. There are five filing status options.
- Married-Filing Joint Return
- Married-Filing Separate Return
- Head of Household
- Qualifying Widow
If you chose to have your tax preparation fees taken out of your federal refund, the total refund amount you need to enter in the tool might not reflect the refund you will actually get. Ensure you enter the total federal refund amount rather than the amount after any applicable fees are deducted.
Why is My Tax Refund Delayed?
Several circumstances can cause a tax refund delay. These include errors, incomplete returns, and refunds that need adjusting. Sometimes, "Where's My Refund" will provide information about the reason for the delay.
You might see Tax Topic 203 in the online portal if the IRS has reduced your refund amount. All or part of your refund can be diverted ("offset") to pay off the following debts.
- Federal tax
- State income tax
- State unemployment compensation debts
- Child support
- Spousal support
- Other federal nontax debts
These debts usually include defaulted student loans, but there is a pause on this type of offset until June, 2023 due the pandemic.
“Where’s My Amended Return” Tax Refund
Refund information for an amended federal income tax return on Form 1040X isn't available on the "Where's My Refund" portal. But there is a resource you can use to track the status of an amended return. Not surprisingly, it's called the "Where's My Amended Return" portal.
To access the tool, you'll need to provide your Social Security number, date of birth, and zip code.
It can take up to three weeks after you mailed an amended return for it to show up in the portal. The "Where's My Amended Return" tool will let you know if your amended return is received, adjusted, or completed.
Processing these returns typically takes about sixteen weeks, but you could wait longer this year. As of April 1, the IRS had more than 1 million amended returns to process, so you might not see a refund for twenty or more weeks.
Katelyn has more than 6 years’ experience working in tax and finance. While she specializes in tax content, Katelyn has also written for digital publications on topics including insurance, retirement and financial planning and has had financial advice commissioned by national print publications. She believes that knowledge is the key to success and enjoys helping others reach their goals by providing content that educates and informs.