How Long Until I Get My Tax Refund?

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Taxes can be a pain, but digging through your receipts and filling out the paperwork is all worth it if you get a big refund from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Unfortunately, the money doesn’t show up in your account instantaneously and many of us spend days or weeks wondering when it will arrive.

If you’re wondering, “where’s my refund?” here are some helpful hints on how long the process might take and some things you can try to get your money faster.

Average Wait Time

According to their website, the IRS issues “9 out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days.” Therefore, most people should be able to expect to receive any refund they are owed within a few weeks, but a small percentage may have to wait longer. You probably shouldn’t be concerned unless it’s been three weeks since you filed electronically or six weeks if you mailed in your tax return. You can always use the IRS’ “Where’s My Refund” Tool to check the status of your refund.

Common Delays

Although most refunds are processed and issued quickly, there are a few factors that can extend your wait time.

Filing By Mail

Paper tax returns sent in the mail tend to take longer to process than those filed electronically. Not only do you have to wait for the documents to be delivered to the IRS, but it might take longer for your information to be reviewed and your refund to be issued. If you want your refund as soon as possible, one option to try is e-filing (file online).

Choosing a Paper Check

Just as with filing your tax return, the way you choose to receive a refund might affect how long it takes. Taxpayers can choose to have their refund directly deposited into their bank account or to have the IRS mail them a check. Direct deposit is usually much faster, and it’s also more cost-effective for the government. “It costs the nation’s taxpayers more than $1 for every paper refund check issued, but only a dime for each direct deposit made,” says the IRS website.

Certain Tax Credits

There are special regulations surrounding the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC). According to the IRS, if you claim either of these credits, the IRS cannot issue your refund until mid-February. The IRS says this rule applies to the entire refund, not just the amount related to those credits. In 2019, the IRS says it anticipates these refunds beginning to arrive on March 1.

Government Shutdowns

If the federal government shuts down, non-essential business will likely be delayed. This could result in a longer wait for your tax refund.

Tips for a Faster Refund

If you’re expecting a refund, follow these simple tips and it may just speed up the process.

  • File electronically
  • Double check all your information
  • Choose direct deposit

The sooner that refund arrives, the sooner you can put it to good use, like paying down outstanding debts. Check out our tips to turn your tax refund into a better financial future.

*Although we are a debt collector, we are providing these helpful tips because we care about consumers and their general financial well-being. Midland Credit Management does not offer financial advice. If you have questions or concerns about your personal finances, please speak to a financial advisor.

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Effective as of February 7, 2023

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