Tax filing deadline fast approaching; use for tax help, check refund status

Notice: Historical Content

This is an archival or historical document and may not reflect current law, policies or procedures.

IR-2018-97, April 16, 2018

WASHINGTON — As Tuesday’s tax deadline approaches, the Internal Revenue Service reminded taxpayers that is available for immediate tax help to avoid long hold times on the IRS help line.

As the tax deadline nears and the demand for IRS tax help by phone is higher, the IRS encourages taxpayers to make their first stop when questions arise, as the website offers answers to many of the most common questions, like "Where’s My Refund?", how to make tax payments and how to get forms and instructions. Other self-service tools provide users with around the clock help.

Last year, taxpayers submitted more than 5 million tax returns on the filing deadline day. The IRS also expects more than 14 million requests for an additional six months to file their tax return – with many of those coming in the final days and hours before the midnight Tuesday deadline.

The IRS reminds taxpayers anyone can receive a six-month extension to file their tax return by using Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. Even with an extension, taxpayers should remember that the extension does not affect any tax they owe. Tax payments are due on or before the April 17 tax deadline.

With millions expecting tax refunds, the IRS reminds taxpayers that most federal tax refunds are issued in less than 21 days, but some may take longer. Taxpayers can use “Where’s My Refund?” on or the IRS2Go mobile app to get the status of their tax refund.

Taxpayers have used "Where’s My Refund?" more than 248 million times this year, an increase of nearly 7 percent over the same time last year.

“Where’s My Refund?” can be checked within 24 hours after the IRS has received an e-filed tax return or four weeks after receipt of a mailed paper tax return. Further, the IRS updates refund information only once every 24 hours, usually overnight, so there’s no reason to check more than once per day or call the IRS to get information about a refund. Users who access “Where’s My Refund?” on or the IRS2Go app must have information from their current, pending tax return to get their refund information.

“Where’s My Refund?” has a tracker that displays progress through three stages: Return Received, Refund Approved and Refund Sent. This is the same information available to IRS telephone assistors so calling is not necessary unless the “Where’s My Refund?” tool requests it.

The IRS continues to encourage the use of e-file and direct deposit as the fastest and safest way to file an accurate tax return and receive a refund. The IRS expects nearly 90 percent of tax returns will be filed electronically, with a similar proportion of refunds issued through direct deposit.