How taxpayers can quickly and easily check their refund status

Notice: Historical Content

This is an archival or historical document and may not reflect current law, policies or procedures.

IRS Tax Tip 2020-87, July 16, 2020

Taxpayers can use the Where's My Refund? tool to start checking on the status of refund 24 hours after the IRS acknowledges receipt of the taxpayer's e-filed tax return. Currently, the IRS is experiencing delays in processing paper tax returns due to limited staffing as a result of COVID-19.

The IRS is processing tax returns, issuing refunds and accepting payments. Taxpayers who filed a paper tax return and expect a refund may experience a significant delay beyond the normal time frame of four to six weeks from the time they mailed the return. The IRS will process these returns in the order received and there is no need to file a second tax return or call the IRS.

Taxpayers can access the Where's My Refund? tool two ways:

To use the tool, taxpayers will need:

  • Their Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number
  • Tax filing status
  • The exact amount of the refund claimed on their tax return

The tool displays progress in three phases:

  • Return received
  • Refund approved
  • Refund sent

The tool is updated once every 24 hours, usually overnight, so there's no need to check the status more often.

Where's My Refund? follows a tax return from receipt to completion. It will tell the taxpayer when their return is in received status and if the refund is in approved or sent status. When the status changes to approved, it means the IRS is preparing to send the refund as a direct deposit to the taxpayer's bank account or directly to the taxpayer in the mail by check to the address used on their return. Taxpayers should wait five days after the IRS sends the refund as a direct deposit to check with their bank. It could take several weeks before a refund check is received by mail.

Taxpayers who file an amended return should check out the Where's My Amended Return? tool.

More information:

IRS YouTube video:

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