How to Find the Status of a Tax Return

After filing your federal tax return with the Internal Revenue Service, you can start tracking its status 72 hours after the return has been received and processed by the IRS. For state tax returns, the time varies, depending upon the state. The good news is that both the IRS and state agencies have methods in place that will allow you to find the status of a tax return. You can choose the method that is the most convenient for you.

Visit the IRS website if you want to check the status of your federal return. If it is a state return you are checking, visit the department of revenue website for the state you filed in. The website links for all 50 states are located on the IRS website (see Resources). Note that some states, such as Oklahoma, do not have an option to check a return's status online.

Click the “Where's My Refund” link if you are using the IRS website. For your state's website, look for the link that says “Return Status” or “Refund Status.” The exact wording will vary by site.

Enter all of the information to authenticate your identity. You will need your Social Security number, the filing status on your return and the refund amount you are expecting to receive, if any.

Click the “Submit” button. View the status of your tax return as it appears on the status page.

Check the status of your refund by calling the refund hot line for the agency that is responsible for processing your tax return. For a federal return, call the IRS automated refund hot line at 800-829-4477.

For a state income tax return, contact the refund hot line for your state's department of revenue. This number can be found on the department's website. When using the hot line, you will still have to enter your Social Security number, filing status and the amount of your refund.