How to Check If the IRS Received My 1040 Form

by Victoria Lee Blackstone ; Updated March 15, 2018

If you are eagerly awaiting a tax refund, confirm that the Internal Revenue Service has received your Form 1040 tax return so you'll know to watch for receipt of the amount of tax you overpaid. On the flip side, if you paid additional taxes when you filed your return, you may want to confirm that the IRS received your payment by the filing deadline and so you won’t have to pay a late filing fee.

How Did You Submit Your Return?

The IRS offers two ways to file a tax return:

  1. Mailing: Mail a paper Form 1040 tax return via the U.S. Postal Service or you send the return through a courier service, such as UPS or FedEx.
  2. Electronic filing (e-filing): Submit a tax return to the IRS by electronically filing it online.

Did the IRS Receive the Tax Return I Mailed?

If you mailed a paper tax return through the USPS with a tracking number, confirm receipt by searching online and entering the tracking number at USPS.com. If you sent your return by courier service, the courier also provides a tracking number for confirming receipt. If your tax return included a check for payment of taxes, watch your bank statement or access your online banking information to see when your check clears, which confirms that the IRS received your return.

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Did the IRS Receive the Tax Return I E-Filed?

When you e-file a tax return, you'll receive a digital confirmation of its receipt by the IRS. E-file options include using commercial tax preparation software to prepare your return and transmit the data yourself or hiring a professional tax preparer that is authorized by the IRS as an e-file provider. The IRS offers a third option, which is available for 70 percent of all taxpayers: If your adjusted gross income is below $64,000, you can use IRS Free File, which you can access at IRS.gov.

What Is the Status of My Refund?

Download the IRS free mobile app, IRS2Go, to monitor the status of your refund from a smartphone or tablet. You can also check the status by going to the “Where’s My Refund?” page on IRS.gov. Information is typically updated 24 hours after you e-file or up to four weeks after you mail a paper Form 1040.

Why Is It Taking So Long to Receive My Refund?

From the time the IRS receives a tax return to when it issues a refund, the turnaround time is less than 21 days for more than nine out of 10 returns. If it’s been longer than 21 days since you confirmed receipt of your tax return, it may be undergoing further review because of errors or it may have contained incomplete data. Other factors that can slow the refund process include the inclusion of Form 8379 Injured Spouse Allocation, which takes up to 14 weeks for processing, and a 2017 change in the Protecting Americans From Tax Hikes (PATH) Act that requires the IRS to hold refunds for taxpayers claiming Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC) or Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) until late February.

About the Author

Victoria Lee Blackstone is a horticulturist and a professional writer who has authored research-based scientific/technical papers, horticultural articles, and magazine and newspaper articles. After studying botany and microbiology at Clemson University, Blackstone was hired as a University of Georgia Master Gardener Coordinator. She is also a former mortgage acquisition specialist for Freddie Mac in Atlanta, GA.

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