Mailed Returns: Processing Delays If you mail your tax return, it may take 6 months or more to process. Please don’t file a duplicate return. For faster processing, e-file your return. For delay details, see Status of Operations. You can file your tax return electronically or by mail. Before you file, determine your filing status. Determine Your Filing Status Your filing status affects your filing requirements, standard deduction, eligibility for certain credits and correct tax. More than one type of filing status may apply to you. To choose the right filing status for your situation, use this Interactive Tax Assistant. E-file for a Faster Refund If you electronically file, you should receive your refund within 3 weeks after the IRS receives your tax return. You could get your refund sooner if you opt to have it directly deposited to your checking or savings account. Find E-File Options, including Free File File by Mail To file by mail, follow instructions in Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. It can take up to 6 months to process your paper return. Find where to file by mail.