In the U.S., only nine states do not require that residents file state income tax returns. Seven of them – Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming – do not tax income. New Hampshire and Tennessee do not tax income but do tax investment earnings; however, you may not need to file a tax return in these two states either.
Everywhere else, residents that meet minimum income requirements must file state tax returns as well as federal tax returns each year. Taxpayers who file state tax returns may receive state refunds if the tax they paid throughout the year is more than the tax they owed.
Finding Out Your Refund Status
State tax refund status information can be checked by visiting the state’s department of revenue website (or appropriate tax collection agency) and looking for a link to check the refund status. Taxpayers can find out the status of their refund by entering their filing status, adjusted gross income and Social Security number into the system. The web page will also have a phone number you can call to check the status of your refund.
This tells taxpayers the status of their tax return and when to expect their refund be refunded to them. Some states require different information to be entered, such as the amount of the expected refund and the address of the taxpayer.
Time Frame for State Refunds
The time frame for researching the refund status is similar for most states. They ask that taxpayers wait a minimum amount of time before checking the status of their refund to allow the state’s department of revenue the opportunity to process their tax return and release refund information. Taxpayers who filed electronically are asked to wait at least two weeks, and those who mailed their tax returns are asked to wait six weeks before refund information becomes available.
How are Refunds Sent?
Refunds can be sent to taxpayers in two ways. For faster receipt, taxpayers have the option to input their bank account information on their tax return so that their refund will be directly deposited into their bank account upon approval of their state’s department of revenue. Taxpayers who elect not to share their bank account information will receive their refund by mail.
Overpayment of Taxes
Refunds are received by taxpayers who overpay their taxes during the tax year. Overpayment of taxes occurs for many reasons, such as having too much withholding taken from their paychecks. Taxpayers who make estimated tax payments during the year may have estimated too high and overpaid. Other reasons for overpayment include deductions and tax credits that reduce tax owed.
Reducing Taxes Owed
Some taxpayers enjoy receiving a tax refund at the end of each tax year. Others would rather have that money on each of their paychecks than in one lump sum at the end of the tax year. To avoid having too much money withheld, taxpayers should re-evaluate their tax situation; child tax, earned income and student credits all reduce the amount of tax owed. If any of these apply, taxpayers may choose to lower the amount of withholding they have taken from their paycheck.
- California Franchise Tax Board: Check Refund Status
- IRS. "IRS Opens 2020 Filing Season for Individual Filers on Jan. 27." Accessed Feb. 14, 2020.
- IRS. "IRS Refund Information Guidelines for the Tax Preparation Community." Page 1. Accessed Feb. 14, 2020.
- IRS. "IRS Tax Tip 2001-48 Refunds—How Long Should They Take?" Page 1. Accessed Feb. 14, 2020.
- IRS. "Amended Returns & Form 1040X." Accessed Feb. 14, 2020.
- IRS. "What to Expect for Refunds This Year." Accessed Feb. 14, 2020.
- IRS. "Refund Timing for Earned Income Tax Credit and Additional Child Tax Credit Filers." Accessed Feb. 14, 2020.
- IRS. "Refund Inquiries 18." Accessed Feb. 14, 2020.
Tiffany Raiford has several years of experience writing freelance. Her writing focuses primarily on articles relating to parenting, pregnancy and travel. Raiford is a graduate of Saint Petersburg College in Florida.