How long does it take to get a tax refund?
If you’re expecting a big tax refund, you’re probably asking yourself, “How long does it take to get a tax refund?” If you mail your return early in the tax season, you’ll receive your tax refund in about four to six weeks. However, if you wait and file your return close to the filing deadline, it will take about eight weeks.
How long it takes to get a tax refund depends on the way you file taxes. To get your refund sooner, e-file your return. The status for e-filing your federal return moves along much more quickly than if you mail in your return. Once you’ve completed the federal e-filing process, the response time from the IRS varies from two to four days.
You can check the e-file status of your federal tax return with our online Where’s My Refund tool.
Other ways to check your federal refund status
You can also check the status of your tax refund by:
- Calling the IRS TeleTax System at 800-829-4477 or the IRS Refund Hotline at 800-829-1954.
- Going to www.irs.gov:
- Choose Where’s My Refund?
- Enter identifying info to get your federal e-file status.
Have your return on hand, since you’ll need it to answer some questions. To check on your refund, you’ll need to provide your:
- Social Security number (SSN) or another taxpayer identification number
- Filing status
- Exact amount of the refund shown on the return
When will my refund arrive?
If you e-filed your return and chose direct deposit to receive your refund, you’ll usually receive your refund in 8-15 days. However, you should allow an extra 1-5 business days for your bank to process the funds.
If you chose the Refund Transfer option, the refund will come from the Axos Bank®, not the IRS.
Why is my refund less than I expected?
It could be for these reasons your refund is less than expected:
- You might have made a mathematical error or some other mistake on your return.
- The IRS might have deducted these amounts from your refund:
- Delinquent federal or state taxes
- Back child support
- Past-due non-tax federal debts, like student loans
You should receive a notice explaining the mistake or any adjustments made to your refund. The notice should include explanations of deductions for prior debts. Since your refund check and the notice come from different IRS locations, you might receive the explanation after you receive the refund check.
Get more tax guidance
What triggers the IRS to audit a tax return? Learn how common tax mistakes and errors can be a red flag and affect your chances of being audited by the IRS.
Find the current percentages for federal income tax rates, capital gains tax rates, Social Security tax rates and more from the tax experts at H&R Block.
The key to understanding your w-2 form is decoding the boxes and numbers. Learn how to read your w-2 form with this box-by-box infographic from H&R Block.
The tax experts at H&R Block outline how students and parents can file Form 8863 and document qualified expenses. Read about Form 8863 here.