How to Track Your 2018 IRS Income Tax Refund

You want your income tax refund, and you want it soon. Unfortunately, the IRS is processing millions of tax refunds right now. So how can you find out when you'll get yours?

The good news is it's really easy. Use the IRS “Where’s My Refund?” tool available on and through the IRS2Go app. Nine out of 10 income tax refunds are issued in less than 21 days. However, by law, the IRS cannot release refunds containing the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit before mid-February.

“Where’s My Refund?” will be updated Feb. 17 for most early filers who claimed the EITC or ACTC. These taxpayers will not see a refund date on “Where's My Refund?” or through their software packages until then. EITC and ACTC refunds should be available in taxpayer bank accounts and debit cards starting Feb. 27, if taxpayers used direct deposit and there are no other issues with their tax returns.

The IRS says that more than 70 percent of taxpayers will receive a refund this year. The fastest way to get a refund is to use IRS e-file and direct deposit.

Questions about tax refunds are the most frequent reason people call the IRS. But the time around Presidents Day is a peak period for telephone calls to the IRS, resulting in longer than normal hold times. IRS telephone assistors can only research a refund’s status if it has been 21 days or more since the taxpayer filed electronically, six weeks since they mailed a paper return or if “Where’s My Refund?” directs a taxpayer to call.

Taxpayers can avoid the rush by using the “Where’s My Refund?” tool. All that is needed is the taxpayer’s Social Security number, tax filing status (single, married, head of household) and exact amount of the tax refund claimed on the return. Alternatively, taxpayers may call 800-829-1954 for the same information. Within 24 hours of filing a return electronically, the tool can tell taxpayers that their returns have been received. That time extends to four weeks if a paper return is mailed to the IRS, which is another reason to use IRS e-file and direct deposit.

Once the tax return is processed, “Where’s My Refund?” will tell a taxpayer when their refund is approved and provide a date when they can expect to receive it. “Where’s My Refund?” is updated once daily, usually overnight, so checking it more often will not produce a different result.

Here's a refund date estimation chart that can help you see when you might expect your refund: