If you count yourself among the millions of Americans who file your federal taxes electronically using a software program or IRS E-File, then you are probably wondering when you will receive your federal tax refund. Thankfully, the IRS is one step ahead of you – they release an E-File schedule each year that lists when you will receive your tax refund.
Learn how military members can file taxes for free.
IRS E-File Schedule for Check Refunds and Direct Deposits
The following table was released by the IRS (source) to help tax payers know when they should receive their tax refund. It works like this:
- Use the left hand column to look up the date your tax refund was accepted
- Use the middle or right column to look up when you should receive your refund (depending on how you requested your refund – direct deposit or paper check).
How to use this chart: If you filed your taxes with E-File, you should receive a confirmation that your tax return was accepted by the IRS. This date will go in the left column. If you didn’t file your taxes electronically, then this chart may not be useful for you for two reasons: you won’t have a confirmation date regarding when your tax return was accepted, and paper tax returns are manually entered by IRS employees, so the process takes longer.
You will also note that this chart covers dates beyond the traditional filing date. If you file after April 15, 2012, then you should file a tax extension request. It’s simple, and can potentially save you a lot of money in penalties. Note: Some military members may be eligible for additional tax deadline extensions if they were deployed or served overseas during the tax year.
|Tax Return Accepted By IRS before 11:00 am between…||Direct Deposit Sent||Paper Check Mailed|
|Jan 17 and Jan 18, 2012||Delayed 1-2 weeks*||Delayed 1-2 weeks*|
|Jan 19 and Jan 25, 2012||Delayed 1-2 weeks*||Delayed 1-2 weeks*|
|Jan 26 and Feb 1, 2012||Feb 8, 2012||Feb 10, 2012|
|Feb 2 and Feb 8, 2012||Feb 15, 2012||Feb 17, 2012|
|Feb 9 and Feb 15, 2012||Feb 22, 2012||Feb 24, 2012|
|Feb 16 and Feb 22, 2012||Feb 29, 2012||Mar 2, 2012|
|Feb 23 and Feb 29, 2012||Mar 7, 2012||Mar 9, 2012|
|Mar 1 and Mar 7, 2012||Mar 14, 2012||Mar 16, 2012|
|Mar 8 and Mar 14, 2012||Mar 21, 2012||Mar 23, 2012|
|Mar 15 and Mar 21, 2012||Mar 28, 2012||Mar 30, 2012|
|Mar 22 and Mar 28, 2012||Apr 4, 2012||Apr 6, 2012|
|Mar 29 and Apr 4, 2012||Apr 11, 2012||Apr 13, 2012|
|Apr 5 and Apr 11, 2012||Apr 18, 2012||Apr 20, 2012|
|Apr 12 and Apr 18, 2012||Apr 25, 2012||Apr 27, 2012|
|Apr 19 and Apr 25, 2012||May 2, 2012||May 4, 2012|
|Apr 26 and May 2, 2012||May 9, 2012||May 11, 2012|
|May 3 and May 9, 2012||May 16, 2012||May 18, 2012|
|May 10 and May 16, 2012||May 23, 2012||May 25, 2012|
|May 17 and May 23, 2012||May 30, 2012||Jun 1, 2012|
|May 24 and May 30, 2012||Jun 6, 2012||Jun 8, 2012|
|May 31 and Jun 6, 2012||Jun 13, 2012||Jun 15, 2012|
|Jun 7 and Jun 13, 2012||Jun 20, 2012||Jun 22, 2012|
|Jun 14 and Jun 20, 2012||Jun 27, 2012||Jun 29, 2012|
|Jun 21 and Jun 27, 2012||Jul 4, 2012||Jul 6, 2012|
|Jun 28 and Jul 4, 2012||Jul 11, 2012||Jul 13, 2012|
|Jul 5 and Jul 11, 2012||Jul 18, 2012||Jul 20, 2012|
|Jul 12 and Jul 18, 2012||Jul 25, 2012||Jul 27, 2012|
|Jul 19 and Jul 25, 2012||Aug 1, 2012||Aug 3, 2012|
|Jul 26 and Aug 1, 2012||Aug 8, 2012||Aug 10, 2012|
|Aug 2 and Aug 8, 2012||Aug 15, 2012||Aug 17, 2012|
|Aug 9 and Aug 15 , 2012||Aug 22, 2012||Aug 24, 2012|
|Aug 16 and Aug 22, 2012||Aug 29, 2012||Aug 31, 2012|
|Aug 23 and Aug 29, 2012||Sep 5, 2012||Sep 7, 2012|
|Aug 30 and Sep 5, 2012||Sep 12, 2012||Sep 14, 2012|
|Sep 6 and Sep 12, 2012||Sep 19, 2012||Sep 21, 2012|
|Sep 13 and Sep 19, 2012||Sep 26, 2012||Sep 28, 2012|
|Sep 20 and Sep 26, 2012||Oct 3, 2012||Oct 5, 2012|
|Sep 27 and Oct 3, 2012||Oct 10, 2012||Oct 12, 2012|
|Oct 4 and Oct 10, 2012||Oct 17, 2012||Oct 19, 2012|
|Oct 11 and Oct 17, 2012||Oct 24, 2012||Oct 26, 2012|
*Please see note at end of article regarding tax refund delays.
Keep in mind it may take a few days for your financial institution to make your deposit available to you, or it may take several days for the check to arrive in the mail. Keep this in mind when planning to use your tax refund. The IRS states to allow for 5 additional days for the funds to become available to you. In almost all cases a direct deposit will get you your tax refund more quickly. Another interesting point is that the IRS published July 4th as an automatic deposit date, which is a national holiday. You may experience delays if your refund was scheduled to be deposited on that date.
Refund Schedule for Extensions and Amended Tax Returns
The refund schedule should be the same if you filed for a tax extension, however, there is no official schedule for tax refunds for amended tax returns. The above list only includes dates for e-filing an original tax return. Amended tax returns are processed manually, and often take 8-12 weeks to process. If you do not receive an amended tax return refund within 8 weeks after you file it, then you should contact the IRS to check on the status.
How to check the status of your tax return
You should be able to check the status of your tax refund roughly 72 hours after your receive confirmation form the IRS that they have received your tax refund via E-File. The best way to check the status of your federal tax refund is to visit the Where’s My Refund page at the IRS website, or, call 1-800-829-1954, or 1-800-829-4477, or 1-800-829-1040 and inquire about your tax return status with an IRS a customer service representative.
Get a Larger Tax Refund Next Year
If you want a bigger tax refund next year, then there are a few ways you can increase the amount of money the government will give you as a tax refund. One of the easiest ways is by opening a Traditional IRA, which allows you to deduct up to an additional $5,000 on your taxes each year (up to $6,000 if you are age 50 or older!). You can open an IRA in a variety of locations, including banks, brokerage firms, independent advisors, and more. If you are looking for a great place to compare different options, then I recommend visiting the Mint.com IRA Center, where you can compare various IRA options.
Update: IRS Announces Some Tax Refunds Will Be Late
The IRS recently upgraded their computer systems to prevent tax refund fraud. This only affects people who filed before January 26 of this year. Find out if your tax refund will be late.