If you're one of the millions of Americans who are asking, "When can I expect my income tax refund?" we have the answer. It depends on a couple of things, but the good news is that there are several tools to help find out.
First of all, taxpayers who use a professional, such as a CPA or EA, can ask that professional for an estimated date. Taxpayers who've already filed can also go to the Internal Revenue Service's website, which has a tool designed specifically for that called, "Where's My Refund?"
There are also apps for Apple, Android and other devices that help track refund status.
Note: The IRS will start processing most returns on January 22, but will not start processing returns with the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) until mid-February 2018.
|IRS Accepts Between||These Dates||Direct Deposit Sent||Paper Check Mailed|
|1/22/2018||1/26/18||Friday 2/2/18||Friday 2/2/18|
|1/29/18||2/2/18||Friday 2/9/18||Friday 2/9/18|
|2/5/18||2/12/18||Friday 2/16/18||Friday 2/16/18|
|2/10/18||2/15/18||Friday 2/23/18||Friday 2/23/18|
|2/15/18||2/24/18||Friday 3/2/18||Friday 3/2/18|
|2/24/18||3/3/18||Friday 3/9/18||Friday 3/9/18|
|3/3/18||3/10/18||Friday 3/16/18||Friday 3/16/18|
|3/10/18||3/17/18||Friday 3/23/18||Friday 3/23/18|
|3/17/18||3/24/18||Friday 3/30/18||Friday 3/30/18||
|Friday 4/7/18||Friday 4/14/18||Friday 4/14/18|
|4/7/18||4/14/18||Friday 4/20/18||Friday 4/20/18|
|4/14/18||4/21/18||Friday 4/27/18||Friday 4/27/18|
|4/21/18||4/28/18||Friday 5/4/18||Friday 5/4/18|
|4/28/18||5/5/18||Friday 5/11/18||Friday 5/11/18|
|5/5/18||5/12/18||Friday 5/18/18||Friday 5/18/18|
|5/12/18||5/19/18||Friday 5/25/18||Friday 5/25/18|
|5/19/18||5/26/18||Friday 6/1/18||Friday 6/1/18|
|5/26/18||6/2/18||Friday 6/8/18||Friday 6/8/18|
|6/2/18||6/9/18||Friday 6/15/18||Friday 6/15/18|
|Friday 6/16/18||Friday 6/22/18||Friday 6/22/18|
|6/16/18||6/23/18||Friday 6/29/18||Friday 6/29/18|
|6/23/18||6/30/18||Friday 7/6/18||Friday 7/6/18|
|6/30/18||7/7/18||Friday 7/13/18||Friday 7/13/18|
|7/7/18||7/14/18||Friday 7/20/18||Friday 7/20/18|
|7/14/18||7/21/18||Friday 7/27/18||Friday 7/27/18|
|7/21/18||7/28/18||Friday 8/3/18||Friday 8/3/18|
|7/28/18||8/4/18||Friday 8/10/18||Friday 8/10/18|
|8/4/18||8/11/18||Friday 8/17/18||Friday 8/17/18|
|8/11/18||8/18/18||Friday 8/24/18||Friday 8/24/18|
The IRS will begin processing tax returns on January 22, 2018, for income earned in 2017. In general, the IRS says that returns with refunds are processed and payments issued within 21 days. For paper filers, this can take much longer, however. The IRS and tax professionals strongly encourage electronic filing.
How quickly a taxpayer receives a refund also depends on when they file and whether they have requested a direct deposit of their refund, or a paper check. This is because during some time frames there is increased traffic, with more filers getting their forms in. The busiest time, and which can experience longer waits on refunds, is usually for those who file in the last week before the April 16 deadline. (The tax deadline in 2018 is April 16 because April 15 falls on a Sunday.)
The chart above provides a general estimate of when taxpayers can expect their refund, based on date filed and type of refund payment.