If you had too much federal income tax withheld from your paychecks during the year, the Internal Revenue Service owes you a refund. For some people, this refund represents a much-needed cash infusion into their budget. Knowing how fast you can expect to get your taxes back can help you better plan your spending.
When you file your income taxes with a paper return, the IRS estimates that it will take about six weeks to issue a refund check. For those who efile their return, the time is cut in half to about three weeks. These time estimates assume that your tax return is error-free.
Checking Your Return Status
The IRS has a telephone number you can call and a website you check to find the status of your refund. Information about your refund is available about three days after you e-file or three to four weeks after you mail a paper return. You can call 800-829-1954 or go to the "Where's My Refund?" website to check your refund status. No matter which method you use, you must know your Social Security number, your filing status and the amount of your anticipated refund.
Lost or Incorrect Refunds
If at least four weeks have passed from the time the IRS mailed your refund, you can request another check be sent to you through the "Where's My Refund?" website. If you move after filing your return, be sure to update your address with the IRS. Otherwise, your refund may be returned to the IRS and you will have to request a new check to be sent to your new address.
Delays in Processing
If you made any errors on your income tax return, it will take longer to get your refund back. According to the IRS, the most common errors include forgetting to include your Social Security number (or writing the wrong number), math errors, entering the wrong amount of tax due and putting federal income tax withholding on the wrong line. You should make a copy of all of your income tax forms before mailing them.
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