Federal Income Tax

Where is my tax return? | Where’s My Refund

Where is my federal income tax return? The Internal Revenue Service helps taxpayers who are wondering about their tax returns by allowing them to track the status of the returns. Although it isn’t really possible to directly track a tax return, you can track the status of your tax refund and will see whether it was processed or still being processed by the IRS.

To track the status of a tax refund, use the Where’s My Refund online tool. You will need to verify your identity, so enter the following to verify who you are.

  • Social Security Number
  • Filing Status
  • Refund Amount

One thing to know about the refund entered on the tool is to make sure to enter the refund amount as exactly as shown on your tax return. Your exact refund amount is located on Line 35a of Form 1040. This amount is the amount you opted to get refunded to you. The actual amount overpaid is located on Line 34 of Form 1040. 

After entering the information required to verify identity, you will know the status of your tax refund. You will see either one of the following as the status of your tax refund and return.

  • Tax Return Received
  • Tax Refund Approved
  • Tax Refund Sent

This whole process is a lot faster for electronically filed tax returns than mailed in ones. If you wish to get your tax refund as soon as possible, make sure to e-file your tax return as it will take less time to reach the IRS and less time for the IRS to process it.

File taxes electronically

There are several ways to file taxes electronically as there are multiple tax preparation services that will help you file a tax return. It’s also possible to file taxes electronically if you meet the requirements of tax preparation services. 

Generally, if your income is under $72,000 and you don’t itemize deductions, you can file for free. Every tax preparation service has its own requirements for allowing taxpayers to e-file for free. You can see the full list of requirements by reading our how to free file taxes article.

How long will I wait for my refund?

First and foremost, the amount of your tax refund has nothing to do with how long you’re going to wait for it. What matters is how you file your tax return and how you chose to receive your refund. File taxes electronically and opt to get your refund direct deposited to your bank account to get your tax refund the soonest. This will enable you to get your refund the soonest.

Here is a simple time length that shows how long you will wait for your tax refund depending on how the return is filed and how the refund is sent.

<refund schedule table> for electronic filing and direct deposit, check refund>

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