When Can I File My Taxes & When Do I Get My Refund?

December 27, 2017 : Diamond Lambert

Most taxpayers know that January marks the start of return filing, but they’re not exactly sure of when.

What naturally follows the filing process is the question “when do I get my tax refund?” Read on for the answer to “when can I do my taxes,” as well as discussing the IRS refund process.


When can I officially file my taxes? 

The IRS recently announced that due to the possibility of Tax Reform, there are countless combinations of changes that could take effect.

Furthermore, many of the proposed changes could be enacted retroactively, meaning they would take effect in the current tax season. We have yet to receive the initial acceptance date.

Due to the PATH Act (Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes), we do know that return processing begins mid-February of 2018. Return disbursements (via direct deposit) could be released as early as February 27th, and after.


What is IRS e-filing?

The IRS accepts tax returns filed one of two ways: through USPS mail and electronically through e-file. A reported 88% of individual tax returns are e-filed per year.

Any tax return filed by a tax professional in an H&R Block office, using the H&R Block tax software, or through the H&R Block online program is e-filed. However, you can always choose to have your return printed to mail yourself.

E-file is the quickest filing method — and typically helps you receive a return faster.


What if I file before e-filing opens?

You can use one of H&R Block’s digital products or come into an H&R Block office before the time that e-file opens to have your return prepared.

H&R Block will hold your prepared return and begin submitting it to the IRS as soon as the agency begins accepting tax returns.


When will I receive my refund?

The IRS has said that about 90% of refunds are issued within 21 days of when the return was received.

You can check on the status of your refund on the IRS website or at our Where’s My Refund page. Live updates will appear the same day e-file opens. Using this tool, you can easily track the progress of your return as it is processed.

The IRS typically updates your filing status once every 24 hours. It’s important to note that you could be locked out of the system for checking too many times in a 24-hour period.


What could cause my refund to take longer?

There are countless reasons your tax return could be delayed. We’ve outlined some common instances where a delay could occur:


  • If you file a paper return, the IRS says you should allow about six weeks to receive your refund.
  • If the IRS mails you a physical check, it could take up to 10 days to receive a check through the USPS mail.
  • If you file Form 8379, Injured Spouse Allocation, it could take up to 14 weeks to process your tax return.
  • If your identity has been stolen and another return was filed with your social security number, it could take longer for the IRS to sort out the situation.
  • If you owe a debt, like unpaid child support, your refund could be offsetto pay part or all of it.


Each of the possibilities above could cause a delay or prevent receiving the refund altogether. It’s important to note that each individual’s tax scenario is unique and no two filings are handled exactly the same.


How can I ensure I get my refund as fast as possible?

Each tax filing is as unique as the individual it represents. To help expedite the tax refund process, consider one or more of the following tips:


  • Visit us at any H&R Block office or use one of our digital productsto ensure your return is ready to file when e-file opens.
  • Consider e-filing versus traditional paper filing.
  • Complete a tax return that is free of any errors or miscalculations. This means carefully reviewing personal information such as your name, social security number, home address and bank information, if applicable.
  • Choose to have your refund direct deposited into your bank account or deposited on to an H&R Block Emerald Card.


Still have questions? Schedule an appointment with your local tax pro, or call 1-800-HRBLOCK for more help.

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Diamond Lambert

Diamond Lambert

Diamond Lambert, M.Sc., is a marketing manager within the advertising and brand team. She is a graduate of Franklin University holding a master's degree in marketing and mass communications. Her contributions include a mix of IRS tax news, lifestyle pieces, and consumer information.

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