Where Is My Tax Refund?


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Where Is My Tax Refund?

The IRS says that if you file your return electronically and enroll in direct deposit, you can probably receive any refund you qualify for within three weeks. That speed can be a real upside of getting organized and filing early, especially if you have plans for the funds coming back to you (such as paying for summer vacation plane tickets).

Those who file a paper return, however, will likely have a longer wait. Read on to learn more and manage your expectations, including:

  •    How long does it take to get my federal tax refund?
  •   When will I get my tax refund?
  •    What affects the time it takes to get a tax refund?
  •    How can you check on where your tax refund is?

IRS Refund Schedule for Tax Year 2023

For those who are curious about when exactly a refund should arrive for the tax year 2023 (filing began on January 29, 2024), consider this information:

Federal Tax Refunds

In terms of when you will get your federal tax refund, here is a typical timeline after filing:

  •    1 to 3 weeks for e-filing with direct deposit
  •    4 to 6 weeks for paper filing with direct deposit
  •    21 days plus mailing time for e-filing with the check sent by mail
  •    4 to 6 weeks or longer plus mailing time for paper filing with the check sent by mail

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State Tax Refunds

When it comes to issuing refunds, each state handles things in their own way, on their own timeline, so it can be difficult to generalize.

Typically, a state tax refund can take anywhere from a few days to a few months for processing. If you filed a paper copy vs. electronically, that may lengthen the usual time for refund processing and the arrival of your funds.

Tax Return Extension

Sometimes, a taxpayer will not be able to file their return by the Tax Day deadline. Perhaps they are missing important tax documents, are experiencing a family or personal emergency, or maybe they just procrastinated. Whatever the case, there is a mechanism in place that allows for an extension.

The IRS allows people to file for a six-month tax extension for submitting their return. However, the extension request, plus any taxes owed, are still due on that April deadline (the 15th or slightly later if it falls on a weekend or holiday).

If you are due a refund, it will be delayed if you submit your tax return late. The volume of tax returns filed late can impact how soon you get your refund.

Form 4868

To request an extension, an individual should file IRS Form 4868. PDF File. The form captures basic information about the taxpayer, such as name, address, Social Security number (SSN), and how much you believe you owe.

Anyone, regardless of income, can submit this form electronically as part of the IRS’ Free File program.

How Long Does the IRS Take to Process Your Taxes?

The IRS says that it issues more than nine out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days. That said, sometimes the processing of a return can take longer, even if a return was filed electronically.

If a return needs to be reviewed manually, it will likely take longer as well. Factors that can lead to a manual review include incorrect or missing information or identity theft situations. More detail is provided below.

Common Tax Refund Delays

If you’re wondering how long does it take to get a tax refund, know that there is not a single, specific timeframe for all taxpayers, and that delays can and do happen.

The IRS cautions visitors to its website not to expect their refund by a certain date. Though most taxpayers typically receive their refund within three weeks, and possibly in even less time if they e-file and choose direct deposit, there are several reasons why a payment might be delayed.

Here are some issues that could cause a holdup:

Filing a Paper Return

Under normal circumstances, the IRS says, it can take several weeks to process a paper Form 1040. Unlike returns that are filed electronically, paper returns must be manually entered into the IRS system.

  • Tax returns are opened in the order they’re received, so if your refund is taking longer than expected, the date you sent your return could be a factor as well.
  • The delivery option you choose for your refund also can affect how quickly you receive your funds. According to the IRS, the fastest way to receive your refund is to combine the direct deposit method with an electronically filed tax return. But taxpayers who prefer a paper return also may be able to speed things up a bit by choosing direct deposit for their refund instead of a paper check.
  • Note: If you e-file, direct deposit is again your fastest path to any refund that’s due (typically one to three weeks), as noted above. If you e-file but request a paper check, that will take a bit longer, often closer to one month.

Providing Incorrect or Incomplete Information

Did you or your spouse forget to sign your return, or did you type in the wrong Social Security number? Returns with missing information or errors can cause extra work for the IRS, which could hold up a refund.

What’s more, the IRS is strengthening its screening process to help fight identity theft, so even the smallest mistake — such as using a different name than what’s on your Social Security card or misreporting what is W-2 income — could slow things down. If the information you provide is wrong or something is missing, you can expect the IRS to contact you for additional documentation or to correct the error.

Claiming Certain Tax Credits

If you’re claiming the additional child tax credit (ACTC) or the earned income tax credit (EITC), the IRS won’t issue your refund before mid-February. A federal law that took effect in 2017 gives the IRS extra time to review those returns, check employers and other information, and detect any possible fraud.

Filing an Amended Return

You may have to amend your return if you find you made an error or there’s a change that affects your income, your income tax bracket, and/or your deductions — and that could delay your refund by several weeks. According to the IRS, it can take up to 20 weeks to process an amended return — even if it was filed electronically.

Tax Fraud

A missing refund could be a sign that someone used your personal information to file a fraudulent tax return in your name. If you suspect you may be the victim of tax fraud, the IRS lists several recommendations for what to do next on its Taxpayer Guide to Identity Theft  web page, and the agency advises potential victims to report their concerns to the Federal Trade Commission.

Existing Government Debt

If you have certain kinds of delinquent debt owed to the federal government, what is known as tax refund offset may occur. This means that an individual’s refund may be partially or completely withheld to satisfy the debt.

You will generally be notified if your refund is being reduced or withheld in this way, and you can dispute the payment with the agency that received it. And if there’s any money left after the offset, you’ll receive it by direct deposit or in a check, depending on what you requested on your tax return.

To ask questions about delinquent debt, you can contact the Treasury Department at 800-304-3107.

Your Refund Went Missing

If you e-filed with third-party tax software or the IRS’s Free File system, you likely received confirmation that your return was received and accepted. If you don’t remember getting a confirmation notice or if you’re concerned because you haven’t heard anything since then, you can check your status with the agency’s Where’s My Refund  tool. Some next steps:

  • If the IRS’s Where’s My Refund tool says your refund check was mailed but 28 days or more have passed and you haven’t seen it, you can file a claim online to receive a replacement. (The Where’s My Refund site will show you how.)
  • Even if you opted for direct deposit, it still could take a few days for the money to show up in your account.
  • If you think your refund has gone missing, you may want to call your bank about tracking the deposit, then move on to contacting your tax preparer or the IRS for help.
  • The IRS won’t accept responsibility if it sent a refund but you or your tax preparer wrote the wrong account number on your return. If the IRS notices an error or if your bank rejects the deposit and returns the money to the IRS, the IRS still may end up sending you a check (instead of using a direct deposit).
  • If you entered an account or routing number that belongs to someone else and the financial institution accepted the deposit, you’ll probably have to work with a bank representative to recover the money. The IRS cannot compel the bank to return the refund.

Tracking Your Tax Refund Process

If you are eagerly awaiting your income tax refund, a wise move can be to track its status on the IRS website or through the IRS2GO app.

You can begin checking your refund’s progress as soon as 24 hours after the IRS receives your e-filed return or four weeks after mailing a paper return. And, if everything goes smoothly, you can use the Where’s My Refund tracking tool daily to watch your tax return make progress.

  • To use the Where’s My Refund tracking tool, all you need is your Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), your filing status (single, married filing jointly, etc.), and the exact dollar amount of your expected refund.
  • You may not get all the information you wanted about your refund, but it’s a start. If you can’t get enough intel there, your local IRS office  may be able to help.

Tax Refund Mistakes

What about the scenario in which a tax refund arrives but it’s for less than you expected? Consider a couple of possibilities:

  • Your tax return could have contained an error, leading you to think you were due more money than you actually are.
  • You might have had your refund lowered by the Treasury’s Offset Program mentioned above.

In the situation of your refund being less than anticipated, there is likely an explanation provided from the IRS as to why. If you are not satisfied, you can use the methods outlined above to contact the IRS and gain more insight.

Tips for Getting Your Tax Refund Faster

If you’re hoping to get your next refund faster, here are a few steps that might help:

Filing Electronically

As mentioned above, filing electronically vs. filing a paper return can speed up your refund. It can typically shave a week or two off of getting your money back via direct deposit and a month off the time for a refund check to be issued.

Choosing Direct Deposit

The IRS says refunds will generally be received by taxpayers sooner if they have e-filed and selected direct deposit. Even if you prefer mailing in a paper return, you can choose to have your refund deposited into your account.

Providing Accurate Information

Pay attention to every detail as you prepare your taxes. Don’t let a little mistake or an omission of data cause a long delay.

Filing Early

By filing as soon as possible during tax season, you’ll be able to position your return at the front of the line for processing. And by starting early, you’ll give yourself plenty of time to research any tax help you may need along with tips that might apply to you, your business, and your family.

Just remember the point above about returns claiming the ACTC or EITC not being processed until mid-February at the earliest.

The Takeaway

Most tax refunds are issued within one to three weeks if you file electronically and opt for direct deposit of your refund. If you file a paper return or opt for a refund check to be mailed to you, it can lengthen the timeline. In any scenario, the IRS provides tools that can help you track your refund and know where your return is in terms of processing.

If you are due a refund and need a great place to deposit it, you may want to make sure your account offers minimal or zero account fees and a competitive annual percentage rate (APR).

This article originally appeared on SoFi.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org

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SoFi members with direct deposit activity can earn 4.60% annual percentage yield (APY) on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Direct Deposit means a deposit to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government payments (e.g., Social Security), made by the account holder’s employer, payroll or benefits provider or government agency (“Direct Deposit”) via the Automated Clearing House (“ACH”) Network during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Deposits that are not from an employer or government agency, including but not limited to check deposits, peer-to-peer transfers (e.g., transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc.), merchant transactions (e.g., transactions from PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc.), and bank ACH funds transfers and wire transfers from external accounts, do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.

SoFi members with Qualifying Deposits can earn 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Qualifying Deposits means one or more deposits that, in the aggregate, are equal to or greater than $5,000 to an account holder’s SoFi Checking and Savings account (“Qualifying Deposits”) during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Qualifying Deposits only include those deposits from the following eligible sources: (i) ACH transfers, (ii) inbound wire transfers, (iii) peer-to-peer transfers (i.e., external transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc. and internal peer-to-peer transfers from a SoFi account belonging to another account holder), (iv) check deposits, (v) instant funding to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, (vi) push payments to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, and (vii) cash deposits. Qualifying Deposits do not include: (i) transfers between an account holder’s Checking account, Savings account, and/or Vaults; (ii) interest payments; (iii) bonuses issued by SoFi Bank or its affiliates; or (iv) credits, reversals, and refunds from SoFi Bank, N.A. (“SoFi Bank”) or from a merchant.

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How much the average American makes at every age

    How much the average American makes at every age

    Your education, industry, work experience, negotiation skills, and plain luck can all influence how much money you make. To get an idea of whether you’re earning a competitive salary, it can be helpful to know how much other people in the same age group are making.

    Let’s take a closer look at the average income by age in the U.S., according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.


    The early days of your working life usually aren’t the most lucrative: 16 to 19 year olds who work full-time make $32,396 a year on average.


    Salaries start to rise as workers gain experience. Those in the 20 to 24 age group make an average annual salary of $38,324.

    This is when many financially savvy professionals start building their 401(k) balance. That’s because the earlier you invest for retirement, the less money you’ll typically have to invest over time. Or, as the saying goes, your time in the market is more important than marketing timing.


    We start to see a big increase in salary once workers reach the 25 to 34 age group, with the average annual income hitting $52,832.

    Ideally, employees will put much of their raises and bonuses toward savings rather than impulse spending.


    For 35 to 44 year olds, their annual salary is still growing: $62,608 on average. This is the beginning of what’s commonly referred to as “peak earning years.”

    Jelena Danilovic/istockphoto

    While many employees enjoy higher wages into their 50s, others find their salary stagnating. Overall, workers in the 45 to 54 age group actually see salaries drop a little, though only by $208. The average annual income in middle age is $62,400.

    Charday Penn/istockphoto

    Salaries really drop for workers between 55 and 64, whose average annual salary is $61,204. What happened to paying for experience? Some companies may believe they can pay younger employees less for the same work, and see older workers as overpaid. As a result, 55+ workers are no longer offered the same retention incentives — such as pay raises — regardless of performance.

    On the other hand, professionals who are satisfied with their retirement savings may choose to work less or retire early instead of waiting until the average retirement age.

    Drazen Zigic/istockphoto

    Once workers reach 65, they are likely shifting to part-time work to stay active during retirement and to earn a little extra retirement income. Some people need more retirement income than others, and Social Security benefits and savings aren’t always enough. Which may be why we see salaries drop to an average of $54,444 per year for those 65 or older.


    Now that we’ve shed some light on the average income by age in the U.S., let’s address some ways workers can maximize their salary. That can mean finding ways to hold on to what you’re earning or to make it grow.

    Create a Budget

    If you’ve ever created a spending budget, you know how shocking it can be to see all the ways we fritter away our hard-earned salary on unnecessary purchases. By cutting back on items you don’t really need — from bottled water to forgotten subscriptions — you’ll free up more cash for things like saving and investing.


    What’s even more shocking than the amount you spend on little things like daily snacks and late-night Ubers? The interest charges and fees that come with debt. The faster you pay off high-interest credit cards, the more you can put toward longer term goals: an emergency fund, travel, or buying a home.


    One easy way to make saving and investing a priority is to automate it: Set up regular, recurring transfers from your paycheck or checking account. That way, big goals like a dream wedding and retirement are prioritized before there’s even a chance to spend that money.


    Taxes may be an unavoidable part of life, but there are ways to pay less to Uncle Sam. Whether you hire a tax accountant or use software to file your return, look for opportunities to snag a larger tax refund.


    One way to make savings grow is to open a brokerage account and invest money in the stock market. Start small while you learn the ropes. While investing comes with risk (and more taxes), it’s a means of making your money work for you.


    Contributing to a retirement savings account is a convenient way to save and invest in one fell swoop. As an added benefit, some employers match a portion of employee contributions. That means if someone isn’t contributing to their employer sponsored 401(k) plan, they’re leaving free money on the table. that helps expand an employee’s net worth.


    A low-risk way to earn money on savings is by opening a high-yield savings account. This type of savings account tends to offer a higher interest rate than normal savings accounts.

    FG Trade/istockphoto

    The average income by age in the U.S. tends to rise as workers gain more experience. Eventually salaries plateau and then drop off. Your peak earning years coincide with middle age, meaning you make the most you ever will in your 40s and 50s. The average salary in the U.S. tops out at $62,608 for ages 35-44.

    This article originally appeared on Sofi.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

    Please understand that this information provided is general in nature and shouldn’t be construed as a recommendation or solicitation of any products offered by SoFi’s affiliates and subsidiaries. In addition, this information is by no means meant to provide investment or financial advice, nor is it intended to serve as the basis for any investment decision or recommendation to buy or sell any asset. Keep in mind that investing involves risk, and past performance of an asset never guarantees future results or returns. It’s important for investors to consider their specific financial needs, goals, and risk profile before making an investment decision.

    The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. These links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement. No brands or products mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this content.
    Communication of SoFi Wealth LLC an SEC Registered Investment Advisor
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