Once most California taxpayers have gone through the ordeal of submitting their tax returns, they are eager to get their refunds. Many residents depend on their refunds to pay off bills or other types of expenses. Others are simply excited to have some cash coming their way. How do you track your IRS tax refund so that you know when to expect it in the mail?
Most refunds are issued to taxpayers within three weeks of e-filing a tax return online. If the taxpayer has mailed in the tax return, it may take about six weeks.
How to Track Your IRS Tax Refund
Fortunately, the Internal Revenue Service, or IRS, makes it pretty easy to track your federal refund. Taxpayers should visit the IRS refund page and enter the following information:
- The taxpayer’s social security number or individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN);
- The taxpayer’s filing status (for example, single, married filing jointly, etc.)
- The exact amount of the tax refund
With these three pieces of information, the taxpayer will be able to track the tax refund. The IRS2Go app also allows taxpayers to track their refunds. Once the tax return has been processed by the IRS—and once the refund has been approved—the IRS website (or app) will display a date by which the taxpayer should receive the refund check.
Taxpayers are able to begin tracking their refunds 24 hours after filing their returns electronically or four weeks after mailing in their returns. The IRS updates taxpayer refund status daily.
What Will the IRS Website Tell Me?
There are several different statuses the IRS website will show a taxpayer in regards to the tax refund.
“Received” means that the IRS has received the taxpayer’s tax return and is currently processing it.
“Approved” means that the IRS has received the taxpayer’s tax return and has approved the refund amount. The IRS is preparing to send the return to the taxpayer directly or to the taxpayer’s bank.
In some other cases, the website may provide an explanation as to what the IRS is doing with the tax return or it may provide instructions to the taxpayer. The IRS will contact the taxpayer if additional information is needed to complete the return and refund process.
What Causes Delays in Receiving a Tax Refund?
If you believe that your tax refund is taking too long, there are a number of factors that could be at play. The following are common reasons that many taxpayers have to wait a bit longer for their refunds:
- There are mistakes in the taxpayer’s tax return
- The tax return has not been completed
- The taxpayer has been a victim of fraud or identity theft
- The taxpayer is seeking a claim for an Earned Income Tax Credit or an Additional Child Tax Credit
- The return includes a Form 8379 “Injured Spouse Allocation,” which may take up to 14 weeks for the IRS to process
- The return simply needs additional review by the IRS
Again, the IRS will contact the taxpayer if additional information is needed to process the tax return. In some cases, additional W2 forms or other such documents may be needed before a tax return may be finalized. Consulting with an experienced California tax attorney is a good idea if you are confused as to what the IRS is requesting of you.
Contact RJS Law Today to Discuss Your Tax Concerns
At RJS Law, our tax attorneys are proud to serve clients throughout southern California. With offices in San Diego, Beverly Hills, and Orange County, we are able to meet you at a location that is convenient for you. To schedule a free consultation with our highly respected tax team, contact us today.
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