How to Check the Status of Your Tax Refund Online
by Richard A Chapo
So, you were pleasantly surprised to learn that you are getting a refund on your taxes. Congratulations! The IRS expects to issue approximately $54 billion dollars in refunds for the 2003 tax year. The question for most taxpayers expecting a return is, "Where is my refund?"
Check Your Refund Status Online
The easiest way to check on your refund is to ask the IRS through IRS.gov. On the home page of the site, you will see a "Where's My Refund?" link. Using the service is fairly easy. You will need a copy of your tax return to provide the necessary information to get the status of your refund. Specifically, you need to provide your social security number, you tax filing status and the exact amount of your refund. The reason the IRS requires all of this information is purely for security purposes, to wit, the agency wants to make sure it is giving access only to the taxpayer. Again, all of this information should be on your return. If it is not, something is very wrong!
Once you submit the required information, the IRS will provide online results typically showing:
1. That the return was received and is in processing;
2. The expected mailing date or direct deposit date of your refund; or
3. Whether your refund could not be issued because of a delivery problem.
In some cases, the results may alert you to the fact that the IRS is reviewing your tax return because of errors or questionable entries. In such a case, it is highly advised that you review your return with a qualified tax professional and make absolutely sure that the return will stand up to scrutiny.
How Long Do You Have To Wait Before Checking?
If you filed your tax return electronically, you should be able to access the status of your refund within 48 to 72 hours. Since the return is coming into the database electronically, it should be assimilated into the system fairly quickly. If you do not file your return electronically, you are going to have to wait three weeks or more before the status of your return can be checked. As you can imagine, the IRS is receiving an enormous amount of paper tax returns and it takes time to organize and enter the returns into the system.
How Long Should It Take To Receive Your Tax Refund?
If you are expecting a refund, the time to issue the refund will depend upon how you filed your return. If you filed a paper return via regular mail, you refund should be issued in six to eight weeks from the date it was received by the IRS. Alternatively, if you filed your return electronically, you should expect to receive your refund in three to four weeks. If you elected to have your refund directly deposited in your banking account, you should take one week off of the above estimates.
Richard Chapo is President of BusinessTaxRecovery.com. Visit BusinessTaxRecovery.com to subscribe to a free newsletter offering monthly tax deduction tips for small businesses or contact Richard at Richard@businesstaxrecovery.com.