Complete Guide on How to Get Your Tax Refund Back The Fastest Way Possible & How to Track Your Refund

Tax Refund Loans

How To Get Your Tax Refund Back as Fast as Possible & How to Track Your Tax Refund!

The Complete Guide to When to Expect Your Tax Refund will teach you everything you need to know when wanting to figure out where your tax refund is, and when you will be receiving it.  No matter which way you file your taxes, you will be able to track your tax refund by learning how-to below, as well as figure out if your refund might be delayed.  You can even roughly estimate when you will receive your tax refund quickly, based on when you file by checking out the Tax Refund 2020 Calendar found in the complete guide below!

complete guide on where my tax refund is

There are several measures to reduce the amount of tax a citizen must pay. And if those measures have been successfully employed or if you have paid a higher tax than is necessary, you may be eligible for a tax return.

Filing a tax return form(s) initiates the process of reporting your income, expenses and other pertinent information. This helps calculate tax liability, schedule tax payments and request for a refund on overpaid taxes.

A new taxpayer might be anxious to know when they can expect their tax returns. Improvements in tax filing processes have made this easier to predict.

There are several options to help file tax returns:
  • File tax returns online directly with the IRS (eFile) or mail a paper form.
  • Use a commercial tax preparation software to help guide you through the process of calculating tax liability. Approved software applications can then directly file your tax returns.
  • Hire a tax preparer to help file your tax returns.

A commercial tax preparation software will electronically stamp your tax return and send it to the IRS. The IRS will conduct an evaluation to verify data such as Social Security Number, whether you have taken any credits or deductions, whether your dependents have already been claimed by someone else, etc. If everything looks good, the tax software will show that the IRS has ‘accepted’ your returns within 24 to 48 hours.  When choosing a commercial tax preparation company to use, I recommend checking out and comparing H&R Block and TurboTax.

Most taxpayers will receive their refunds within 21 days of the IRS receiving and accepting the filing. 9 out of 10 taxpayers were issued timing of tax refundtheir tax returns within 21 days of the IRS receiving their returns in 2019. If you have submitted your returns before e-File has been opened, your 21 days start on the day it opens (including for most commercial tax preparation software applications). In 2020, the IRS opens eFile on January 27th. Mailing in your returns can add at least 6 to 8 weeks to the processing time.

At 21 days, your tax software will show you whether your filing has been approved or if it requires further action. An approved message will be accompanied by a date, after which you will receive your refund in a few more days if you have opted for direct deposit.

If you are filing directly with the IRS with Free File, you can also check the status of your refund using the “Where’s My Refund?” Tool on the IRS website. Your status can be available within 24 hours for electronic submissions and within 4 weeks for mailed returns.

With state taxes, most individuals file their taxes at the same time as their federal.  Your state taxes often don’t take long to process.  However, if you want to check the status of it, you can easily Google the name of the state you live in followed by the phrase “state tax refund status”.  So, for example, I live in California so I would Google: California state tax refund status.  Then you go to the first link.

The Timing of Your Refund Can Depend Upon Multiple Factors:

  1. Electronic filings will be processed faster than sending your returns in the mail.
  2. Filing earlier can result in your returns being processed earlier.
  3. Claiming certain refunds can cause delays in the processing.

Now you can get a basic understanding of when to expect your tax refund by using the Tax Refund 2020 Calendar and get an idea of when you will receive your tax refund based on when you filed your taxes.  Below is the complete tax refund 2020 calendar so you can see for yourself when you can roughly expect your refund.

Tax Refund 2020 Calendar

Date You File TaxesWhen to Expect Direct DepositWhen to Expect Paper Check
Jan 21 – Jan 25, 2020Feb. 7, 2020Feb. 14, 2020
Jan 26 – Feb 1, 2020Feb. 14, 2020Feb. 21, 2020
Feb 2 – Feb 8, 2020Feb. 21, 2020Feb. 28, 2020
Feb 9 – Feb 15, 2020Feb. 28, 2020Mar. 6, 2020
Feb 16 – Feb 22, 2020Mar. 6, 2020Mar. 13, 2020
Feb 23 – Feb 29, 2020Mar. 13, 2020Mar. 20, 2020
Mar 1 – Mar 7, 2020Mar. 20, 2020Mar. 27, 2020
Mar 8 – Mar 14, 2020Mar. 27, 2020Apr. 3, 2020
Mar 15 – Mar 21, 2020Apr. 3, 2020Apr. 10, 2020
Mar 22 – Mar 28, 2020Apr. 10, 2020Apr. 17, 2020
Mar 29 – Apr 4, 2020Apr. 17, 2020Apr. 24, 2020
Apr 5 – Apr 11, 2020Apr. 24, 2020May 1, 2020
Apr 12 – Apr 18, 2020May 1, 2020May 8, 2020
Apr 19 – Apr 25, 2020May 8, 2020May 15, 2020
Apr 26 – May 2, 2020May 15, 2020May 22, 2020

How to Track Your Refund and Get It as Fast as Possible

If your returns are incomplete or incorrect, or if the IRS needs further information, they may send you instructions. Under the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act of 2015, if you have claimed the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit, the IRS is required to hold tax returns for folks who claimed those credits until February 15. A PATH Act message may appear when you use the Where’s My Refund? tool.

“Where’s My Refund?” on and the IRS2Go app will be updated with projected deposit dates for most early EITC/ACTC refund filers by February 22. In the absence of other issues and if you have selected direct deposit, the IRS expects most EITC/ACTC related refunds to be available in taxpayer bank accounts or on debit cards by the first week of March. The goal here is to give the IRS time to ensure no duplicate returns are filed and to cut down on fraud.

The fastest way to get your refund is to e-file and choose direct deposit.  “Where’s My Refund?” will follow your tax return from receiptgetting your refund as fast as possible to completion. It will tell you when your return is in received status and if your refund is in approved or sent status.

Now if you have filed your taxes but can’t wait this period of time for which your refund is received, which is typically around 3 weeks or longer, big tax preparation companies offer a service called a Refund Advance that can be used if you have a financial emergency and need the cash right away.  There is also another service called Tax Refund Loans, which offers this service to anyone who has filed their taxes, including people who filed it directly with the IRS with Free File.

You can also track your tax refund by calling the IRS directly at (800) 829-1040.  It is necessary to remember though, that IRS representatives on phone or at offices can only research the status of a refund 21 days after it is filed electronically or six weeks since it is mailed in. Therefore, it is best to avoid contacting the IRS for status updates before 21 days, unless the “Where’s My Refund?” tool requests your action.

Your Tax Refund Can Also be Delayed If:

  • It includes errors,
  • Is incomplete, 
  • Affected by fraud or identity theft,
  • Includes a credit claim such as EITC/ACTC,
  • Includes a Form 8379, Injured Spouse Allocation, which could take up to 14 weeks to process,
  • Requires further review in general.

A tax transcript is best used to validate past income and tax filing status for mortgage, student and small business loan applications, and to help with tax preparation. Hence it is not useful to identify your refund date.

One thing we want to share about using the IRS2GO App, which is the app you can use to check the status of your refund on your phone at any time, is if you enter the wrong Social Security Number, it could trigger an IRS Error Code 9001. This may cause your return to be held for identity verification and cause delays. You can always call the IRS directly at (800) 829-1040 if you have concerns.

The deadline to submit your 2019 taxes is April 15, 2020. To avoid late filing fees and other penalties, you can file for a tax extension in case of delays but the sooner you file, the quicker they are processed, and you receive the refund. The deadline for extensions is October 15, 2020. However, an extension does not give you more time to pay your taxes. It only gives you more time to file your return. In other words, if you owe money on your taxes, your payment is still due by April 15th.