If you file your taxes with the IRS EFile, or with an tax software program that files your taxes online for you, then you are in luck – you will generally receive your tax refund much more quickly than if you file your taxes by mail. The reason is that electronic tax returns are easier for the IRS to process, making it faster for them to clear the books on your tax return and send you a refund check.
IRS E-File – When Will I Get My Tax Refund?
How long does it take to get your tax refund? The IRS created a schedule for when they will send out federal tax refunds via direct deposit or by check. The general rule of thumb is that direct deposits will be sent out approximately one week before paper checks are sent out. Keep in mind it may take a few days for your financial institution to make your deposit available to you, or it may take several days for the check to arrive in the mail, then another few days after you deposit he check before the funds are available.
IRS E-File Schedule for Tax Refunds via Check or Direct Deposits
The IRS releases an annual schedule to help tax payers better plan around tax season so they will know when they can expect to receive their refund check.
The table below shows when your federal tax refund should be direct deposited into your bank account, or the date your check will be mailed if you filed your taxes electronically and your tax refund was accepted within the dates in the table. Keep in mind it may take a few extra days, or even up to a week to receive a paper check. (source).
|IRS accepts your return (by 11:00 am) between…||Direct Deposit Sent||Paper Check Mailed|
|Jan 17 – Jan 18, 2012||Jan 25, 2012||Jan 27, 2012|
|Jan 19 – Jan 25, 2012||Feb 1, 2012||Feb 3, 2012|
|Jan 26 – Feb 1, 2012||Feb 8, 2012||Feb 10, 2012|
|Feb 2 – Feb 8, 2012||Feb 15, 2012||Feb 17, 2012|
|Feb 9 – Feb 15, 2012||Feb 22, 2012||Feb 24, 2012|
|Feb 16 – Feb 22, 2012||Feb 29, 2012||Mar 2, 2012|
|Feb 23 – Feb 29, 2012||Mar 7, 2012||Mar 9, 2012|
|Mar 1 – Mar 7, 2012||Mar 14, 2012||Mar 16, 2012|
|Mar 8 – Mar 14, 2012||Mar 21, 2012||Mar 23, 2012|
|Mar 15 – Mar 21, 2012||Mar 28, 2012||Mar 30, 2012|
|Mar 22 – Mar 28, 2012||Apr 4, 2012||Apr 6, 2012|
|Mar 29 – Apr 4, 2012||Apr 11, 2012||Apr 13, 2012|
|Apr 5 – Apr 11, 2012||Apr 18, 2012||Apr 20, 2012|
|Apr 12 – Apr 18, 2012||Apr 25, 2012||Apr 27, 2012|
This table cuts off after the filing deadline, which is April 17th this year. Here is the full IRS EFile Tax Refund Schedule.
Some important notes about this tax refund schedule: This is only good when you E-File your taxes because the IRS will notify you of the date of acceptance – generally within 72 hours of receipt. Tax returns sent on paper forms must be manually entered into the IRS computers and there is no way to track the date of acceptance, so this chart won’t work for estimating which day your tax return will be sent.
The other important thing to note is that IRS refund checks are processed fairly quickly, usually within 1-2 weeks. This is just one more reason to say no to refund anticipation loans.
Where is My IRS Refund Check?
You can check the status of your federal tax refund as soon as 72 hours after the IRS acknowledges receipt of your e-filed return. The quickest and easiest way to get this information is to go to the Where’s My Refund page. Or, call 1-800-829-1954 or 1-800-829-4477.
Want a Bigger Tax Refund?
If the idea of a larger tax refund sounds appealing to you, then you may wish to open a Traditional IRA, which can not only help you save money for retirement, but it can also help you receive a larger tax refund, as up to $5,000 worth of contributions are tax deductible ($6k if you are over 50 years of age). Reducing your taxable income by several thousand dollars is worth a nice chunk of change in your tax return next year. If you want to learn more, then I recommend visiting The Mint.com IRA Finder, which compares various places where you can open an IRA.