Once you’ve put in the time and effort required to file your tax return, you want to make sure your work isn’t lost in cyberspace or in the mail. If you’re due a refund, you want your forms to arrive safely and be processed as quickly as possible. The Internal Revenue Service offers several ways for you to verify that your return has been received and that your IRS refund status is being processed.
Finding More e-Filing
If you file your tax return electronically, either through third-party tax software or the IRS’ Free File system, you will receive electronic confirmation that your tax return has been received and accepted. According to the IRS, it promptly begins processing IRS tax refund information as soon as it is submitted and accepted. If they do not accept your return, the IRS will let you know why, usually because of incomplete information. You can correct any errors and file the return again. If you do not receive a confirmation or a rejection, you should refile the return.
Check Where's My Refund?
Whether you filed a paper or an e-filed return, if you’re expecting a refund, the IRS offers the Where’s My Refund? site. You’ll need your Social Security number, your filing status and the amount of the refund you are due to receive. If you filed a joint return, you can use either spouse's Social Security number. The IRS advises you to wait three weeks before checking the status of mailed returns and 72 hours before following up on e-filed returns.
Read More: When Can You Get That Tax Refund?
Use the IRS2Go Mobile App
You can download the free IRS2Go mobile app for iPhone or Android and check the status of your return from your smartphone or tablet. Enter your Social Security number, your filing status and the amount of your refund and you’ll be able to see where your return is in the processing chain. Instructions for the IRS2Go app recommend waiting 24 hours after you file your return electronically and four weeks after you mail a paper return to check the status.
Call the IRS Refund Hotline
You may check the status of your expected tax refund by calling the IRS Refund Hotline at 800-829-1954. This automated system will provide your refund status if you supply your Social Security number, filing status and refund amount due.
Report and Verify Your Taxes
The IRS Where's My Refund? hotline, app and website allow you to check only the status of a refund. If you had to pay taxes and you filed a paper return, your avenues for verifying that your return was received are fewer. If you paid the taxes you owed via check, watch your bank account to see when the check has cleared.
You may mail your tax return certified mail, return receipt requested. Or you could send it Priority Mail, which will provide you with a tracking number you can use to verify the return’s receipt.
Due to limited staff as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, mailing paper returns may take considerably longer than usual to be processed. E-filing results in much faster processing.
Additionally, you can submit your paper return to a representative at a local IRS field office and get an "accepted" time stamp, or ask the rep to look up the status of your previously-filed return.
- IRS: About Where’s My Refund?
- IRS: Refund Help
- IRS: IRS2Go Mobile App
- IRS: Where to File Paper Returns With or Without a Payment
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Cynthia Myers is the author of numerous novels and her nonfiction work has appeared in publications ranging from "Historic Traveler" to "Texas Highways" to "Medical Practice Management." She has a degree in economics from Sam Houston State University.