IRS State Tax Refund Information

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In the U.S., only seven states do not require that residents file state income tax returns. The other 43 states and the District of Columbia require residents that meet minimum income requirements 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.

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 clicking on the “Where’s My Refund” link. Taxpayers can find out the status of their refund by entering their filing status, adjusted gross income and Social Security number into the “Where’s My Refund” system. 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

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.


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

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.