In this series:

How to file your taxes: step by step
Check if you need to file
Gather your documents
Get credits and deductions
File your return
Get your refund
Pay taxes on time
Be ready to file taxes next year

How refunds work

If you paid more through the year than you owe in tax, you may get a refund. Even if you didn't pay tax, you may still get a refund if you qualify for a refundable credit.

Check your refund

If you e-file your return, you can usually see your refund status after about 48 hours with Where's My Refund? You can get your refund information for the current year and past 2 years.

Check your refund

Check your refund on an amended return

Amended returns take up to 3 weeks to show up in our system and up to 16 weeks to process. To check on an amended return, visit Where's My Amended Return?

When to expect your refund 

To process your refund, it usually takes:

  • Up to 21 days for an e-filed return

  • 4 weeks or more for amended returns and returns sent by mail

  • Longer if your return needs corrections or extra review

The timing of your refund may change if you:

Choose how to get your refund

You can get your refund by:

Direct deposit: This is the fastest way to get your refund. Deposit into your checking, savings, or retirement account. You can split your refund into up to 3 accounts.

Paper check: We'll mail your check to the address on your return. Notify us if you changed your address.

Prepaid debit card: Check with your bank or card provider to see if your card will work and which account numbers to use.

Mobile payment apps: Some apps accept direct deposits.

U.S. Savings Bonds: Find out how to buy bonds with your refund.

Plan next year's refund

To get a bigger or smaller refund next filing season, adjust the taxes you pay through the year with the Tax Withholding Estimator.

Solve a refund problem

If your refund isn't what you expected, it may be because:

If your refund is missing or destroyed, request a replacement check.

If you entered the wrong account or routing number, call us at 800-829-1040 to stop the deposit. If it's already deposited to another account, you must contact your bank to recover your funds.

If you get a refund you're not entitled to, promptly return it to us.

Phone help

Where's My Refund has the latest information on your return. If you don't have internet access, you may call the automated refund hotline at 800-829-1954 for a current-year refund or 866-464-2050 for an amended return.

If you think we made a mistake with your refund, check Where's My Refund or your online account for details.