Alert If you file on paper, it may take 6 months or more to process your tax return. For service delay details, see Status of Operations. Taxpayers and tax professionals are encouraged to file electronically. You will usually receive your refund within 3 weeks of the date when the IRS receives your return, even faster if you elect to have it directly deposited into your checking or savings account. E-File Options, including Free File If you mail a paper Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax ReturnPDF, it can take 6 to 8 weeks to process your return. Mailing Addresses Signing the Return For signing an electronic return see Validating Your Electronically Filed Tax Return. For signing a paper tax return: If you file a joint return, both spouses must sign the return. If your spouse cannot sign because of a medical condition and requests that you sign the return, sign your spouse's name in the proper place, followed by the word "by" then your signature, followed by the word "husband" or "wife." Be sure to also sign in the regular space provided for your signature. Attach a statement that includes the form number of the return you're filing, the tax year, the reason your spouse cannot sign the return, and that your spouse has agreed to your signing for him or her. If you're the guardian for your spouse who is mentally incompetent, you may sign the return for your spouse as "guardian." If your spouse cannot sign the return for any other reason, you may only sign it if you have a valid power of attorney. You should attach the document granting you power of attorney to the return. You may use Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative for this purpose. If you're filing a return for a minor child who cannot sign the return, sign the child's name followed by the word "by," your signature, and your relationship, such as "parent" or "guardian for minor child.