How Long Does it Take to Get Your Tax Refund Back?

Posted by Madison on February 14, 2017

When filing tax returns, the second question everyone asks is “How long does it take to get my tax refund back?” Of course, the first question everyone asks is “How much is my refund?”

Tax Refund Direct Deposit versus Mail

If you want to get your refund faster, opt for the direct deposit route. Not only will the IRS send your money earlier via direct deposit, but you’ll cut down on the mailing time too.

IRS Tax Refund Schedule

How long does it take to get your tax refund back? The IRS eliminated the refund schedules that were used in prior years for both direct deposit and mailed refunds.

The guideline the IRS is using for filing your tax return is:

Don’t count on getting your refund by a certain date to make major purchases or pay other financial obligations. Even though the IRS issues most refunds in less than 21 days, it’s possible your tax return may require additional review and take longer.

Essentially, they’re saying most people will get their refunds in less than 21 days (with the exception of the tax credit delays*), but there won’t be any schedules they will follow this year.

The IRS provides these tips to tax preparers to get the fastest tax refund:

  • File an accurate tax return.
  • Efile your tax return.
  • Use direct deposit with the correct bank account and routing number.
  • File by the tax deadline.
  • Use the correct mailing address and SSN for everyone listed on your return.

New Tax Refund Delays

*Delays for Earned Income Tax Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit.

New this year, tax refunds will be delayed until February 15 if you claim the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit. The IRS estimates that the delayed refunds may begin to show up during the week of February 27 for direct deposit. For more see: IRS Will Delay Tax Refunds if You Claim These Tax Credits.

How long can the IRS delay your refund? See How Long Can the IRS Delay Your Tax Refund?

Share your results: How Long Did it Take to Get Your Tax Refund?

IRS Tax Refund Status

You can track the status of your tax refund with the IRS tool Where’s My Refund? or the IRS Refund Tracker Tax App. You’ll see an estimated refund date once your return is processed.

More Tax Topics

You can get my latest articles full of valuable tips and other information delivered directly to your email for free simply by entering your email address below. Your address will never be sold or used for spam and you can unsubscribe at any time.


Comments to How Long Does it Take to Get Your Tax Refund Back?

  1. Yeah, except that for most filers I’ve asked, the government is not keeping that schedule. The only “accurate” estimate is the one provided by WMR. However, mine’s been moved a couple of times already and I’m still waiting.


  2. And not to mention that states are not sending the refunds in time… I’m in NY, and still waiting for my state refund 🙁



    • One more reason to not overwithhold!


  3. We filed last weekend, so we are on the schedule for April 9 since we opted for direct deposit. I’m making a note on my calendar to update this post when our refund actually pops up.

    Budgeting in the Fun Stuff

    • We got our refund today (three days earlier than scheduled)! 🙂

      Budgeting in the Fun Stuff

      • Glad to know you got it! Now what will you spend it on?


      • 10% to fun money accounts, 20% to our Scottrade account, and 70% to my husband’s car loan.

        Budgeting in the Fun Stuff

      • where did you file at?

        Jennie Mofford

  4. I found we got our refund right on schedule but if you are getting a refund in excess of 4000 expect a delay.

    Daddy Paul

    • Thanks for the data point, Daddy Paul.


    • Yes, I filed at the end of March but my refund of over $4000 won’t arrive until May 11 according to the IRS website. What’s the difference between less than and greater than $4000 for the delay?


  5. Wahoo, WMR updated to say it should be deposited tomorrow. Recap: Large refund ; Originally 3/26, updated to 4/6, deposited on 4/2 (hopefully)


    • Let us know if you get it tomorrow!


      • Yep came through today, and couldn’t be happier. This was one of my more complicated tax returns including: two mortgages, a contract-for-deed (interest income, investment expense), and all the stock hoopla. Glad it came through with no adjustments!


    • what is WMR?


  6. I live in Texas. My husband and I filed our taxes perfectly with a financial advisor and sent them in on January 31. 6 weeks later we were told by the IRS website to expect our refund on April 6th. 2 weeks ago we received a letter from the IRS saying they needed copies of our W-2s (yes, they had been sent with the originals). We called, were told we need to resubmit anyway, and did so the next day. I called last week to make sure they were received and was told by the IRS person to call back in a week. I got off the phone with the IRS just now, it being a week later. Have they received my information? They can’t tell. Will I be receiving my refund tomorrow? No. Can you tell me when my refund will be received? Check back in 4 weeks. I wish I were kidding. Taxes submitted with all proper paper work on January 31, asked to resubmit paper work on March 22nd, and on April 5 told to check back on status in 4 WEEKS! Unbelievable. You’d think the government would create some much needed jobs by hiring more people to better handle this. Not only that, but my husband and I withdrew from our IRA to pay for our house. This is not only allowed for first time home buyers, but both government websites and our Finance person showed that first-time homebuyers who do this will only be taxed 20% of the amount withdrawn over $10,000. We withdrew $15,000, $5,000 of which was taxable, and the IRS charged $3500 in taxes. When asked about this they simply stated “…new rules…” but could not provide documentation. Last I checked 20% of $5000 was $1000, NOT $3500. Just for reference, even 20% of the total $15,000 is $3000, not $3500.


    • Kate, Sorry to hear about your troubles.

      Although, just to clarify, the tax that is waived is the additional 10% penalty for first time home buyers.

      Both you and your spouse can take $10,000 for each of your IRAs without having to pay the 10% penalty.

      However, even if the penalty is waived, which it would be on the first $10,000, you’ll still be required to pay regular income tax on the entire amount.


    • I am experiencing similar problems.

      We filed our return on Feb. 8th by paper because they would not accept our efiled return. We did opt for direct deposit though. On March 12th we recieved a letter from the IRS saying that we needed to submit our W-2 forms to them. We did this via fax on March 16th. Then called to confirm reciept. They could not tell me whether or not They recieved this. The where’s my refund page had said that we would recieve the refund no later than March 30th. This has now changed to the refund is being processed. I called last week to see what the status was and they said that they could not give me any information until 3 weeks after the time I faxed in my W2’s and that my refund should be deposited on Friday. I called again today and got the same response only saying 4 weeks.

      It has now been a total of 10 1/2 weeks since we originally filed and no refund! I am very frustrated and do not know what to do. (I expect it to take even longer now since it is after April 15th)


      • Hi, Craig,
        I sympathize with you completely. Filed paper on January 31st, got the message in March that they needed copies of our W-2s (even though they were sent with the original), and our online status says the same as yours. I call each week and each week they say 6 – 8 weeks from the time we mailed in our w-2s (March 20). At least they’re telling you only 4. Either way, I think it’s a total joke. It’s so screwed up this year that organization has gone out the window. At this point I wouldn’t be surprised to receive yet another letter saying they need our W-2s. I was told, however, that when they receive the missing information the status online changes to the ultra vague “…processing…” I hope one day to receive our tax refund. I do not expect it before some time in May, and would be less surprised if the IRS contacted me to say they’ve lost my return then I would be to get my refund by the end of this week (it was originally due 3 weeks ago). I am incredibly angry, and feel very much exhausted by this nonsense.


      • Were did you find a number to reach a person . Every number I try I get a computer.

        christen couto

    • you need to contact the irs tax advocate


  7. I was unaware that regular income tax is now at 26% ($3500 from $15,000). Especially since, including that amount, my husband and I combined made about $62,000 last year and we did pay the initial 10%; the check that came to us was for $13,500. I’m so confused now!


    • Kate, Without being able to see your return, I would guess that it’s being broken down like this:

      10% penalty on $5000 = $500
      15% tax on $15,000 = $2250

      That leaves 5% left which might have been tax from going into a higher tax bracket, or your state tax.

      If they withheld 10% on the initial check, it should show on your return on the last page as being withheld, which will subtract it from the tax due.

      Hopefully that helps. Like I said, without being able to see it, I’m taking a guess.


  8. I filed mine on April 12, and it is now July 27,and I still don’t have my refund. What a mess.

    WMR first said it would be sent June 8, then it said “still being processed.” I called and they said, well, it’s been delayed and we don’t know how long it will take.

    So, if you got your at all you’re lucky. I’ve read that I can try for 30 days and then ask for an advocate, which is what I guess I have to do, but who will pay me for my time?


  9. I efilled february 10-17 and it was mailed on March 4. When should i expect it to be in my mail box? How many buisness days does it take after it is mailed?


  10. The 2011 tax refund schedule is a crock of bull. I filed on Feb 3, 2011. It was accepted by IRS on Feb 17. My first date was Mar 1. Then it was changed to Mar 8. Then Mar 10. Now it says Mar 22. That is almost 11 weeks from an efile and direct deposit–the fastest way possible to get my refund. I don’t know how much more of this “date pushing” I can handle.

    B Brown

    • My CPA told me that the IRS was not accepting any returns until March 15th. Anything that they received before March 15th would not be processed until after March 15th & it would also be processed as “filler” work. Basically meaning that if you filed before March 15th, your return will be processed after the people that waited until after the 15th. I mailed my in on March 15th & I received conformation that it was received by the IRS on March 17th. My paper check was sent out yesterday (March 27th) in the mail. By the way, I am getting $5600 back, so the amount was apparently not an issue.


  11. It seems like the delays are very widespread.

    Has anyone received their refund according to the IRS refund schedule?


    • As the owner of a tax preparation business, I see about 96-97% receiving refunds according to schedule. another 2-3% delayed a week (review-a manual look at return by IRS-Not an audit. Usually a 1 week delay. Over $10K refund 1-2 week delay). 1-2% delayed due to taxpayer (missing prior year filings. Claiming credits that had been denied in the past). Last year, we even saw many 1040ez returns paid in 3-4 days.


      • so how long does the review take? Mine was accepted on Jan 30 and I was told mine would be deposited Feb 8, then… a review. It’s now March 1st and I have no letter, no info, nothing.


  12. My return was filed and accepted on feb22 with my direct deposit scheduled for march 4. That got pushed back to march 15, than April 12, than april28. Now they say another 6 to 8 weeks! What the he’ll?


  13. I had someone else file mine and they waited til the last minute. April 18th. I still have not received anything and it is now August 3rd. Is this normal? Because I was really counting on it and I feel hopeless like its never going to come. Does anyone know if I still have a chance of getting them? Because I feel like I should have gotten some type of letter if I wasnt going to get them back, which I know I was.


  14. I got mines excepted on the 17th at 8 30 at nite. The turbotax say 25th….then they say the 26th and the WMR say the 31st! WHich one is it? I just want what mines


  15. I see a lot of people answering giving other people false hopes when they have no clue what they are talking about. The irs dont even know when people are going to get their returns-its a effin fiasco and i have heard every reason from “the new system ” to “the dog ate your return”–you will get it whenever –just remember –the irs has never been and never will be held accountable for their inadequacies.


  16. I know 3 or more people who have went to tax filling place and did not have w2 to report earning ( otherwise fake income was reported to get EIC benefit) and got there refund on time, it seem to me the IRS is only messing around with people who actually have jobs and income to report, yet they are saying the new system is to catch fraudulent activity , all the while the people who are stealing from the IRS is being reward with refund . so IRS if you are reading this you bitches suck, your system sucks, and you guys aint doing shit to protect the honest working citizens.


    • Kev, stop being a hater hahaha. Just kidding, I feel your frustration. My refund was delayed almost an entire year but then again, my tax situation was very complicated (lots of deductions,credits, and liabilities). Systems are flawed in everywhere.


  17. My husband and I filed our taxes jan 19 they were accepted same day,we received 100$ last week and I been checking WMR it says it was schedule for today will we get are taxes? So confused


  18. My husband and I filed on Feb 2, 2012 with H&R Block
    And were supposed to get our electronic refund within two weeks between the 15th and 21st. Now the IRS is sending our refund on March 7th a month later. We feel H&R had fault on our tax refund because on the 15th we spoke to the H&R agent and she blamed it on the IRS delay and 2 days later we checked the website and found out we are getting it on March 7. They refuse on taking blame. We have checked the dates from which we should be getting our refund and make no sense why we should receive our refund this late. Does anyone know or have heard of anything like this?


  19. is there really a delay for income tax return in las vegas nevada? if yes how long will i have to wait for my income tax return


  20. I did my efile on 02/07/2012 I got my federal but still waiting on state turbo tax accepted and state website said still in process it’s been over 5 weeks.any suggestions.

    Kuldip ralh

  21. Okay, I got my current refund very timely, my question is-
    I also filed for 2010 tax credit a week later, by mail (required), it’s been 12 wks now. the first response was “expected date you should receive your return is april 19th” and then, as that came and went, changed to “your tax return has been received and is being processed”

    (both wheres my refund and phone)
    Any clue would be helpful

    Pamela bourque

  22. I have exact same situation as you except I sent 2010 and 2011 in on the same day. I got my 2011 refund about three weeks after, but have yet to receive my 2010 refund. My returns were mailed on April 6th. When will my 2010 refund show up? How can I check on it? Is there another number to call?


  23. I’d like to tell the Government not to expect MY money that THEY take with out asking before a specific time so don’t go making any major financial purchases or increasing national debt before you get it. Giving half the money back to us they took out on an intrest free loan, you think they could at least be a little more decent about giving it back.


  24. i have been waiting since jan31


  25. I file on Feb 14 2013 and still it says my refund is being process on wmr ugh somebody let me know something….


  26. I filed my on Feb 16 and nothing yet still being proces help anyone? ?????:(


  27. Been waiting since Feb 2nd2013 I have officially given up on recieving a refund.Effing IRS can only say wait wait & wait some more!


  28. I see a lot of whining going on about folks not receiving THEIR refunds in a timely manner. You all should be looking a LESS witholding to keep what’s yours. You’ve loaned money to the government for a year, interest free and now you wnt them to get in a hurry? Not going to happen. Grand Slammah out.

    Grand Slammah

Previous article: «
Next article: »