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You've done the hard work--filed your taxes and now you're expecting a return. It's time to wait. But, how many days, weeks, or months should you have to wait? Well, it depends. We'll explain below and give you a better idea on what your timeline may be.

So when can you expect to get your tax refund? Well, it depends on when and how you file your taxes. In general, the IRS notes that it issues most refunds within 21 days of receiving your tax filing forms. But if you claim an Earned Income Tax Credit or Additional Child Tax Credit, your refund could take a bit longer to get to you.

And remember, this process and the timing are based on when the IRS actually receives your tax forms and how you decide to be paid. If you e-file your taxes and choose to receive your refund as a direct deposit, you’ll get it more quickly than if you file with paper and receive your refund with a paper check.

Will Coronavirus Impact Tax Filings and Refunds?

It’s been reported the IRS may delay the tax filing deadline of April 15th due to the Coronavirus pandemic. But, it’s not certain when or if it will actually happen or how long the deadline would be extended.

It should also be noted, earlier reports indicate there shouldn’t be delays in sending tax refunds.

Refund Schedule for 2020

The IRS used to actually publish a chart each year with the refund schedule, depending on the date that your return was accepted. Due to newer auditing procedures, they no longer do this. However, we can make a pretty good estimate based on past years’ performance. Still, take this information with a grain of salt, and check out the next section to learn how to get the status of your particular refund.

If the IRS accepts your tax return by:Your direct deposit may be sent as soon as:Or your paper check could be mailed as soon as:

Check Your Refund Status

The table above could help you estimate when you’ll get your refund. But if you’re curious about your actual refund status, you can find that easily online, too.

Go to www.irs.gov/refunds and click “Check My Refund Status.” There you’ll enter your Social Security Number or ITIN, filing status, and refund amount shown on your tax return.

You’ll need to have the exact refund amount, so be sure you’re looking at your tax return as you sent it in to the IRS. Once you enter this information, you’ll be able to see the status of your actual tax refund so that you can estimate when your money will arrive.

What To Do With That Refund

Save It!

Do you already have plans for your tax refund when it does arrive? If not, you might consider tackling some of your most important financial goals. You could use it to pay off some lingering high-interest debt, or you could put it towards a savings goal you’ve been working on for a while.

Another option is to save it in a high-interest savings account like with Citi Accelerate Savings. With a 1.00% APY, your interest doesn’t get much better than this for a savings account. Citi Accelerate Savings is an excellent option for storing your emergency fund or another longer-term savings account.

Invest Your Money

Another great option for dealing with that tax return money is to invest it. Putting your money into an investment account can seriously impact your financial future.

Just getting started with investing? Check out options like Betterment and Wealthfront that make it easy to see how much and where you should invest. For women, especially, Ellevest is another beneficial option for beginning to invest.

Learn More about Betterment and Wealthfront.

Regardless of when your income tax return arrives, be sure you have a plan to put it to good use so that you don’t blow it in a way that doesn’t further your financial progress for 2020!

Author Bio

Total Articles: 119
Chris has an MBA with a focus in advanced investments and has been writing about all things personal finance since 2015. He’s also built and run a digital marketing agency, focusing on content marketing, copywriting, and SEO, since 2016.

Article comments

Maureen says:

My direct deposit says it’s on 04/26 but it’s already May and still didn’t get any…

Latrecia Brownl says:

I mail myreturn n on april15 n it’s June 1 n I still haven’t received anything it’s keep telling me still processing when will I get it I need it…

Katrina Gendron says:

I haven’t received my tax returns. Has been since 4/15/19 when I filed it. I been checking daily for it. It is still processing.

Kashe says:

Mailed off my Tax return on April 15th, 2019. It was received on May 10th,2019. It is now June 3rd,2019 & I have yet to receive it. When checking it . It says “ processing “ . I have no idea why it’s taking so long

Lucinda says:

I mailed my taxes on April 15th and have not received my refund or any notification from the IRS. When I check the website it says “still processing.” I called week 12 and was told that there was an error that did not require them notifying me- and it has been corrected. I called again week 13 and was told that they put a message on my account that they would need to send me my refund or a letter and that it can take another 8 weeks!!! Sounds like a lot of us are having the same problem- they should have to pay interest at the same rate that I would have to pay them if I owed them money.

Amanda says:

I believe they do pay interest

sarah says:

They do pay interest but you have to then claim it on your taxes the following year.

Chrissy says:

Filed my taxes late Feb they never received so I had to mail them. April 22nd got notice about filing out form 8962 and 1095 a. Faxed next day. Received letter june 10th another 4 to 6 weeks. Just got ddd for july 24th. The IRS is taking forever this year.

Norris & Tina rahaming says:

It’s been since March 15 and still nothing I understand with my filing status it says 11to 12 weeks but now 13 going on 14 weeks

Jasmine says:

Have you received it yet?

Jacqueline Medlock says:

I have filled my taxes and have not received it yet but it’s been February the 15 2019 and have not received .

Dee says:

I filed my taxes through turbo tax direct deposit January 14th 2019…. it’s now June 8th 2019 I can’t even check the status of my refund. I also can’t get in contact with TurboTax or the IRS. I’m getting worried that someone took my refund.

Leslie says:

I filed my return electronically 4/5/18. It’s still processing per the site and it’s now 6/24/19. This is very troublesome…

James says:

Contact a tax advocate it’s a free service, did ours in finaly received a date

Tiffany Santiago says:

I filed February 2 and my federal refund is still processing, I was assigned a tax advocate that won’t return my calls. The only thing I’ve been told is that the delay is the result of a “system error.”

Erica says:

Same thing with me. I was told my employer didn’t send in my W2s, my employer did- she even double checked with her accountant. Tax advocate has called me once just to tell me she was faxing all of my papers over to the IRS. I am getting very frustrated. I just hope we wont have to deal with this mess next year!


Same! I had to go to social security office to get them to add past ones. They told me that its already in process and blocks were getting removed. This was 3 weeks ago. There is still no update on the site and no income tax 🙁

Toczylowski says:

I filed april 14th, and was told 13 to 14 weeks for processing because of how i filed. I called them yesterday and they said because i filed injured spouse, it was an additional 6 to 8 weeks from yesterday. I am still seeing the ‘Being processed’ when i check online.

Ashley Morton says:

Good to know. I was told 12 weeks and I also filled injured spouse. Has been stuck on processing for a while now

Rebecca says:

Thus is 3rd year we have filed with injured spouse and this year has been complete and utter nonsense. Never had an issue prior. We filed electronically April 13th, and it takes 11 weeks to process for injured spouse electronically. We are still waiting and nothing has been updated on our transcripts since MAY 6TH. Called IRS July 10th and they put in a 30 day referral for someone to contact us (yeah right!), still nothing has happened. I wish there was some kind of update that can be given….JUST GIVE US SOME INFO!!

Teosha Chavez says:

I still waiting too…I filed back in February

Mj says:

I filed back in February and have yet to receive my refund I was told that one of my employers didn’t turn in my w2 which she swears she did I keep getting letters saying they need an additional 60 days to review my case it’s been almost 6 months and I desperately need my money

Sara says:

My case is a little similar my boss typed in the wrong ssn for me & I had to verify my identity downtown. I haven’t received mine either. Like what seriously takes so long

sarah says:

I filed my taxes in April 2019. Received a letter dated June 26, 2019 stating I would receive my refund in 4-6 weeks. I still have not received the refund. I contacted the IRS on September 12 and was told to give them 30 days to contact me. Going on 3 weeks and I still have not heard anything. I will probably get next years return before I get this years.

Cassandra says:

I did my taxes back in April as well got a letter in June requesting a additional 60 days I have called back 3 times over the passed 6 months every time I call they tell me the same thing that they can’t exactly tell me why it’s taking so long but to give them a additional 60 days each time I call

Erin Mace says:

Mine was accepted on jan 27….and on my turbo tax says my estimated federal refund date us the 17th of February….is that the day it will deposit or will it deposit before that…