If you file your tax return electronically, the IRS will typically deposit your tax refund into your bank account within 21 days after it accepted your refund. It will take twice as long, or longer, if you mailed a paper return -- as long as six to eight weeks. If the IRS detects errors on your return or it is incomplete, your refund will be delayed.
Allocating the Refund
Fill out your bank information -- such as account and routing numbers -- on IRS Form 8888 to receive your refund by direct deposit. You can also use all or part of your refund to purchase a savings bond by selecting that option on this form. If you are an “innocent spouse,” meaning your spouse owes a debt that can be paid from your joint tax refund, you need to fill out Form 8379. Your accountant or income tax preparer can help determine if you are eligible for injured or innocent spouse relief.
The IRS allows you to check the status of your refund online. Use the search terms “check my tax refund status” on the IRS website or navigate to irs.gov/refunds. If you want an IRS representative to research your refund, you first must wait at least 21 days after the agency accepted your electronic filing, or six weeks after mailing your paper return.
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