Here's How To Check The Status Of Your Tax Return

After Christmas, New Year's Eve, and Valentine's Day, Americans across the country are looking forward to their next favorite holiday: Tax day. All joking aside, there are only two unavoidable things in life — death and taxes — and therefore it's better to get your taxes over with rather than wait until the last second. The process can be quite a dreadful and dauntless task finding all the deductions and tax credits that apply to you, making it really easy to push off until you have to file.

But once you get past this step, you might discover that the IRS owes you some money this year, and you may be curious as to when the check will clear and appear in your bank account. Luckily the process of checking on your completed tax return is not nearly as complicated as you may think. Here's how you can check on the status of your tax refund.

How to check your tax refund on the web

The first step to checking the status of your tax return would be to file your taxes in the first place. You will only be able to see the status of your tax return 24 hours after filing (if you did so electronically) for 2022, three-to-four days if you are filing for years 2020-2021, and up to four weeks if you filed your taxes on paper. Once you've met this threshold of days, you can begin checking your status.

Steps to checking your tax return:

  1. Go to your web browser and head to the IRS government website. The website has a dedicated "Where's My Refund?" page for checking on the status of your refund.

  2. Scroll until you find the "Check Your Refund" button.

  3. Click this button, and enter your tax information. You will need your social security number (SSN), or your IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification if you do not have an SSN, and your refund amount for this section.

  4. Fill out the rest of the questionnaire.

After you've completed this information, you will then be able to see your status, which will be one of three options:

  1. "Return Received," meaning the IRS has received your tax return and is currently processing it.

  2. "Return Approved," meaning the IRS has received, reviewed, and approved your tax return.

  3. "Refund Sent," meaning after your return has been approved, and if a refund is owed, the IRS will begin sending you money.

IRS2Go and possible errors

If you want to check the status of your tax return on the go, you can download the app IRS2Go, which allows you to go through the same process as the web browser, but on your phone. The app is available on both iOS and Android devices, and once you download the app, you will be prompted to enter the same information that you would on your computer or web browser.

When you submit your information, you may have an error pop-up on the screen. Some of the most common error codes are "Tax Topic 151" and "Tax Topic 152." Tax Topic 151 is a code that shows up if the IRS is auditing your information to see if there are any errors or withholdings that will garnish your wages, such as late child-support payments or defaulting on federal loans. 

Once the IRS finishes its review, you will have a new refund amount. However, you do have the right to appeal if you feel like the corrections are unjust, which you can find more information on through the IRS website. If Tax Topic 152 shows up on your screen, then it's likely that you will receive a refund, but the IRS still has to approve your return.

When will the money appear in my account?

So when and how does the money get inserted into your bank account? Well, that depends on a variety of factors. 

When you fill out your tax return, you will be prompted to fill in your account number and your routing number. This is different for each individual, as well as each separate account you may have. For example, the account and routing number for your checking account is different than the ones for your savings account(s).

If you don't fill this section out, or do so improperly, then the IRS will mail you a check with your refund amount on it. If you filed your tax return electronically, it will take usually less than 21 days for the IRS to process your return, and up to four weeks or more for paper applications. 

If you aren't able to see the status of your tax return more than 21 days after filing, it is advised that you call the IRS (at either 800-829-1040 or 800-829-8374). However, be warned, because getting a hold of the IRS is extremely difficult, and it is advised that you do this only when necessary.