Where’s My Refund? How To Track Your Tax Return

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Are you constantly checking your bank account for your federal tax refund? You’re not alone. Tracking it down can be frustrating, but this guide simplifies the process. It walks you through the steps to monitor your refund, giving you peace of mind about your hard-earned money.

Filing Your Income Tax Return

Many people want to track their federal tax refunds. Tracking is quick and easy. If you filed your taxes correctly, you should be able to track your refund within 36 hours of e-filing or four weeks after paper filing. You have various options to file your individual income tax return, including hiring a tax preparer, using software or an app to file electronically, or manually filling out an IRS Form 1040 or 1040-SR and mailing it.

Keeping backup records from each tax season is a good idea. These records assist with future filings and make things easier for amending returns. Examples of these records include invoices, canceled checks, sales slips, paid bills, receipts, and deposit slips. Keeping these documents is important as they support the information on your return.

Reasons for Delayed Income Tax Refunds

Normally, you receive your refund from the IRS within 21 days. However, it’s a good idea to keep track, especially if it has been more than a few weeks. The fastest way to check your refund status is to use the ‘Where’s My Refund?’ tool or download the IRS2Go App on your phone.

Several factors could cause a delay in your refund, such as errors in social security numbers, ID numbers, or filing statuses. Other reasons include a significantly larger refund amount compared to previous years, inconsistencies between federal and state tax returns, using a paper tax return instead of an electronic one, using the wrong tax year form, claiming tax credits or deductions that require extra processing time, identity theft or fraud, and delays in mailing or processing the tax return by the IRS. Keep in mind that processing times may be longer during certain times of the year due to the high volume of tax returns.

Tips to Get Your Tax Refund Faster

Waiting for a tax refund can feel like forever, but there are ways to speed up the process. By following a few simple steps, you can ensure that your tax refund arrives sooner. Here are some tips:

1. File Electronically

Filing electronically is recommended to minimize errors and mathematical discrepancies. It can also help you discover potential tax credits or deductions that you may not have been aware of. Use IRS Free File or other online tax software like Turbo Tax, and choose direct deposit for a quick and secure refund.

2. Mail Paper Returns to the Correct Address

While electronic filing is recommended, if you choose to mail your return, make sure to use the correct address. This ensures that it arrives without delays. You can find the correct address on the ‘Where to File Paper Returns’ page on the IRS website.

3. Report All Taxable Income

Report all taxable income to avoid penalties and interest. Most income is taxable, including interest, unemployment income, and income from digital assets or the service industry. IRS Publication 525 provides details on taxable and nontaxable income.

4. Keep a Copy of Your Tax Return

Keep a copy of your signed return and any schedules used for filing. These copies will be useful for filing an amended return or for future reference when processing annual tax returns. Retain your records for items of income, deductions, or credit listed on your return until the period of limitations ends. Generally, this is three years from the date you filed your original return or two years from the date you paid the tax, whichever is later if you file a claim for credit or refund after you file your return.

Get Your Refund Faster with Direct Deposit

Choose direct deposit for a speedy, secure, and hassle-free way to receive your tax refund. Simply select direct deposit as your preferred method when using an online tax service or software. Provide your bank account details and routing numbers. You can also opt for direct deposit with paper tax filings.

Benefits of Direct Deposit:

  • Fast access to funds: Receive your refund within days, not weeks.
  • Convenience: No need for bank visits or waiting for a check in the mail.
  • Security: Eliminate the risk of lost or stolen checks.
  • Cost-effective: Direct deposit is usually free.
  • Environmentally friendly: Reduce paper waste.


Split your refund across checking, savings, and IRA accounts. Use Form 8888 to purchase savings bonds with your refund.

What to Do if Your Refund Is Delayed:

Returns with refunds are processed first. If you made a payment, it will be deposited immediately. Delays may occur due to missing information, identity theft, or fraud. Check the refund status on the IRS website or contact an IRS representative for assistance.

Understanding Refund Status:

  • Received: Your return is being processed.
  • Approved: Your refund is owed to you.
  • Sent: Your refund has been deposited or mailed.
  • In Progress: Delayed due to errors or additional review.
  • Under Review: Thorough review requiring more information.

What to Do if Your Refund Is Not Received:

Respond to requests for additional information. If e-filing, check the IRS website’s “Where’s My Refund?” page. Resubmit an electronic tax return if needed. Avoid filing amended returns unless necessary.

Reasons for Withholding a Refund:

Delays can happen due to the pandemic’s effects on the IRS, responding to taxpayer mail, or processing incorrect returns.

Have you ever thought about how investing in real estate could lead to a tax refund? 

When you have a partial ownership in a property, it opens up opportunities to generate a tax refund. Let’s say you own a portion of a rental home or vacation rental; you can declare your share of rental income or losses on your tax return. This strategy can help lower your tax obligation or even result in a tax refund, depending on the income or losses incurred. You can also claim depreciation expenses to further reduce your tax. However, it’s important to remember that owning a fractional ownership in rental property comes with risks and responsibilities. 

Navigating the real estate investment landscape can be overwhelming if you go it alone. Foothold can help alleviate uncertainties and the burden of sourcing and managing properties. Explore our selection of investment homes today and envision the potential growth of your initial investment in the coming years.

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