When Will I Get My Tax Refund? 2020 Tax Year Refund Schedule (2021 Tax Season)

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Tax Refund Schedule
This IRS refund schedule can help you estimate when you will receive your refund from the IRS. The IRS recommends filing electronically in order to have your tax return and refund processed faster.

The first day to file your 2020 taxes is February 12, 2021. The IRS reports that 9 out of 10 taxpayers who filed electronically in 2019 received their tax refunds within 21 days. Some taxpayers receive their refund in as little as 8 days, and most receive it within 10-14 days.

The IRS no longer publishes a tax refund calendar, but they continue to issue guidance stating most taxpayers will receive their refund within 21 days. So we have used IRS guidelines, statements, and historic tax return data to create an IRS refund schedule, which we have published on this page.

We have also included additional tax return information, such as a list of important dates and Frequently Asked Questions regarding IRS refund dates. It’s important to note the calendar is an estimate and represents when the majority of tax returns should be processed.

IRS E-File Schedule for Tax Refunds via Check or Direct Deposits

As alluded to above, the IRS previously released an annual schedule to help taxpayers better plan around tax season so tax-filers will know when they can expect to receive their refund check. They stopped this practice in 2013 (2012 tax year) after there were delays in the refund process due to new anti-fraud measures.

The table below shows an approximation of when your federal tax refund should be direct-deposited into your bank account or the date your check will be mailed. This table is based on previous tax return charts. Remember, this is only an estimation and not a guarantee.

How to use this tax refund chart: This schedule only applies to tax returns filed electronically. The left column represents the date your tax refund was accepted by the IRS. This chart does not apply to tax refunds filed by mail because it takes the IRS much longer to manually process returns. There is no tax refund schedule for paper returns because it is difficult to know when the IRS will physically process your return.

2020 Tax Refund Schedule (2021 Tax Season)

Tax Return
Accepted By IRS
Refund Status
Approved by IRS
Direct Deposit
Sent*
Paper Check
Mailed*
Feb 8, 2021Feb 14, 2021Feb 26, 2021Mar 5, 2021
Feb 15, 2021Feb 21, 2021Mar 5, 2021Mar 12, 2021
Feb 22, 2021Feb 28, 2021Mar 12, 2021Mar 19, 2021
Mar 1, 2021Mar 7, 2021Mar 19, 2021Mar 26, 2021
Mar 8, 2021Mar 14, 2021Mar 26, 2021Apr 2, 2021
Mar 15, 2021Mar 21, 2021Apr 2, 2021Apr 9, 2021
Mar 22, 2021Mar 28, 2021Apr 9, 2021Apr 16, 2021
Mar 29, 2021Apr 4, 2021Apr 16, 2021Apr 23, 2021
Apr 5, 2021Apr 11, 2021Apr 23, 2021Apr 30, 2021
Apr 12, 2021Apr 18, 2021Apr 30, 2021May 7, 2021
Apr 19, 2021Apr 25, 2021May 7, 2021May 14, 2021
Apr 26, 2021May 2, 2021May 14, 2021May 21, 2021
May 3, 2021May 9, 2021May 21, 2021May 28, 2021
May 10, 2021May 16, 2021May 28, 2021Jun 4, 2021
May 17, 2021May 23, 2021Jun 4, 2021Jun 11, 2021
May 24, 2021May 30, 2021Jun 11, 2021Jun 18, 2021
May 31, 2021Jun 6, 2021Jun 18, 2021Jun 25, 2021
Jun 7, 2021Jun 13, 2021Jun 25, 2021Jul 2, 2021
Jun 14, 2021Jun 20, 2021Jul 2, 2021Jul 9, 2021
Jun 21, 2021Jun 27, 2021Jul 9, 2021Jul 16, 2021
Jun 28, 2021Jul 4, 2021Jul 16, 2021Jul 23, 2021
Jul 5, 2021Jul 11, 2021Jul 23, 2021Jul 30, 2021
Jul 12, 2021Jul 18, 2021Jul 30, 2021Aug 6, 2021
Jul 19, 2021Jul 25, 2021Aug 6, 2021Aug 13, 2021
Jul 26, 2021Aug 1, 2021Aug 13, 2021Aug 20, 2021
Aug 2, 2021Aug 8, 2021Aug 20, 2021Aug 27, 2021
Aug 9, 2021Aug 15, 2021Aug 27, 2021Sep 3, 2021
Aug 16, 2021Aug 22, 2021Sep 3, 2021Sep 10, 2021
Aug 23, 2021Aug 29, 2021Sep 10, 2021Sep 17, 2021
Aug 30, 2021Sep 5, 2021Sep 17, 2021Sep 24, 2021
Sep 6, 2021Sep 12, 2021Sep 24, 2021Oct 1, 2021
Sep 13, 2021Sep 19, 2021Oct 1, 2021Oct 8, 2021
Sep 20, 2021Sep 26, 2021Oct 8, 2021Oct 15, 2021
Sep 27, 2021Oct 3, 2021Oct 15, 2021Oct 22, 2021
Oct 4, 2021Oct 10, 2021Oct 22, 2021Oct 29, 2021
Oct 11, 2021Oct 17, 2021Oct 29, 2021Nov 5, 2021
Oct 18, 2021Oct 24, 2021Nov 5, 2021Nov 12, 2021
Oct 25, 2021Oct 31, 2021Nov 12, 2021Nov 19, 2021
Nov 1, 2021Nov 7, 2021Nov 19, 2021Nov 26, 2021
Nov 8, 2021Nov 14, 2021Nov 26, 2021Dec 3, 2021
Nov 15, 2021Nov 21, 2021Dec 3, 2021Dec 10, 2021
Nov 22, 2021Nov 28, 2021Dec 10, 2021Dec 17, 2021
Nov 29, 2021Dec 5, 2021Dec 17, 2021Dec 24, 2021
Dec 6, 2021Dec 12, 2021Dec 24, 2021Dec 31, 2021

This table cuts off after the final tax filing deadline for extensions, which is October 15th this year. Here is the full IRS E-File 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.

When Can I File My Taxes – And When is My Tax Return Due?

What is the first day you can file your 2020 taxes?

February 12, 2021, is the first day you can officially file your 2020 tax return. That said, you can always complete your return as soon as you have your paperwork ready. Many software programs will allow you to submit your return through their system and they will automatically file the return for you on the day the IRS begins accepting returns. This will get your return in the queue faster, and hopefully, get your refund processed more quickly.

Filing Tax Returns Early

The first official day to file taxes is February 12, 2021, according to the IRS. Last year, some people reported they were able to submit their tax return around January 15, as part of IRS HUB Testing. HUB Testing is a controlled launch of the tax return process so the IRS can test the submission process and troubleshoot any errors before making the general launch for all taxpayers.

While there are benefits to submitting early, only a limited number of tax preparation companies are able to process these early returns, and only in limited numbers. Expect your tax return to be processed on the first day of tax return filing unless your tax professional or software company has informed you your return will be included in this program.

When is My 2020 Tax Return Due?

Tax returns are normally due on April 15 each year, unless the 15th falls on a weekend or holiday. If that is the case, the tax return is due on the following business day. For example, in 2018, taxes were due on April 17, 2018, because April 16th is Emancipation Day, an observed holiday in Washington, DC. So it’s a good idea to double-check each year!

What happens if you don’t file your taxes on time?

Don’t do it! Instead, try to file a tax extension. Filing a tax extension is free, and you can do it at any time. Just be aware that you need to pay any money due by the tax deadline, or you may owe penalties or fees. So get an estimated tax payment in the mail if you need to, then figure out your books. The deadline to file your tax return if you filed an extension is October 15th.

IRS E-File – When Will I Get My Tax Refund?

How long does it take to process a tax return?

The most important factors for tax return processing time are whether you efile or file a paper return. As you might have guessed, e-filing results in much faster turnaround time. Paper returns have to be manually entered into the system and can remain in the queue for several days (or longer) before they can be processed. Of course, the complexity of your return also affects how long it takes to process your return.

How long does it take to get a tax refund?

The IRS has a goal of getting tax refunds to taxpayers within 21 days. They reach this goal about 90% of the time. In fact, some people receive their federal tax refund in as few as 8 days, and most people receive their refunds in about 10-14 days.

In previous years, the IRS created an official IRS tax refund schedule for when they will send out federal tax refunds via direct deposit or by check. They now issue general guidance. The general rule of thumb is that direct deposits will be sent out a few days before paper checks are sent out (the delay for a paper check can actually take up to one week, depending on how many refunds the IRS has to process).

Are there any known tax refund delays?

Yes. A law requires the IRS to withhold tax refunds when the taxpayer claims either the Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC) and Additional Child Tax Credits (ACTC). Refunds must be withheld until Feb. 15, 2021, regardless of when you filed your tax return. Tax refunds that claim these credits after that date are processed as they come in. The IRS has also created new anti-fraud measures to combat tax refund theft. So some returns may be delayed for additional review.

When will my refund be in my bank account?

Direct deposits are faster than paper checks. However, keep in mind it may take a few days for your financial institution to make your deposit available to you. Some banks make direct deposits available the day they hit, while other banks may hold the funds for a couple of business days. Check with your bank for more information. Paper checks also have a delay for fund availability: it may take several days for the check to arrive in the mail, then another few days after you deposit the check before the funds are available (many banks place a hold on checks).

What day of the week does the IRS deposit refunds?

The IRS process ACH transactions on any normal business day. (The IRS used to process electronic refunds once or twice a week, now they are processed on each business day).

What day of the week does the IRS mail paper checks?

Fridays.

Electronic Tax Returns and Payments Are Fastest

If you file your taxes with the IRS EFile, or with a 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 IRS can process electronic tax returns faster and easier than paper returns. This makes it faster for them to clear the books on your tax return and send you a refund—via either an ACH transaction or by check.

ACH transactions (bank to bank electronic transfers) are much faster and safer than receiving a paper check. So if you want to receive your refund faster, electronic is the way to go! While you are waiting on your tax return, here is a great way to make a fast $250 free money just for opening up a Chase Bank Checking account and savings as a new customer!

Top Tax Filing Services

If you have a little more complicated than using the simple form, then you might want to consider filing with one of the top tax services. Not only can you get your return faster, but you can also take advantage of deductions you may otherwise miss, and get audit protection.

The top services include:

TurboTax – The best-known name in Tax Software, our TurboTax review details everything you get for both free and paid solutions.

H&R Block – One of the oldest tax filing services in the country, H&R Block is known for both its online and local availability.

Tax Act – With more than 20 years of tax filing experience, TaxAct is a top option for anyone looking for a full-featured platform.

Where is My Tax 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. Please note the IRS only updates the status of your refund once a week, on Wednesdays. So checking back several times a day throughout the week won’t normally give you any new information. 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 take advantage of tax-advantaged accounts, such as opening a Traditional IRA. This will not only help you save money for retirement, but it can also help you receive a larger tax refund, as up to $5,500 worth of contributions are tax-deductible ($6,500 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 here are some top IRA companies, where you can open an IRA. You can also adjust your income tax withholdings in your paycheck.

2019 Tax Refund Schedule (2020 Tax Season)

Tax Return Accepted By IRS before 11:00 am between...Direct Deposit Sent*Paper Check Mailed*
Jan 27 and Feb 02, 202010-Feb-2014-Feb-20
Feb 03 and Feb 09, 202017-Feb-2021-Feb-20
Feb 10 and Feb 16, 202024-Feb-2028-Feb-20
Feb 17 and Feb 23, 20202-Mar-206-Mar-20
Feb 24 and Mar 01, 202019-Mar-2013-Mar-20
Mar 02 and Mar 08, 202016-Mar-2020-Mar-20
Mar 19 and Mar 15, 202023-Mar-2027-Mar-20
Mar 16 and Mar 22, 202030-Mar-203-Apr-20
Mar 23 and Mar 29, 20206-Apr-2010-Apr-20
Mar 30 and Apr 05, 202013-Apr-2017-Apr-20
Apr 06 and Apr 12, 202020-Apr-2024-Apr-20
Apr 13 and Apr 19, 202027-Apr-201-May-20
Apr 20 and Apr 26, 20204-May-208-May-20
Apr 27 and May 03, 202011-May-2015-May-20
May 04 and May 10, 202018-May-2022-May-20
May 11 and May 17, 202025-May-2029-May-20
May 18 and May 24, 20201-Jun-205-Jun-20
May 25 and May 31, 20208-Jun-2012-Jun-20
Jun 01 and Jun 07, 202015-Jun-2019-Jun-20
Jun 08 and Jun 14, 202022-Jun-2026-Jun-20
Jun 15 and Jun 21, 202029-Jun-203-Jul-20
Jun 22 and Jun 28, 20206-Jul-2010-Jul-20
Jun 29 and Jul 05, 202013-Jul-2017-Jul-20
Jul 06 and Jul 12, 202020-Jul-2024-Jul-20
Jul 13 and Jul 19, 202027-Jul-2031-Jul-20
Jul 20 and Jul 26, 20203-Aug-207-Aug-20
Jul 27 and Aug 02, 202010-Aug-2014-Aug-20
Aug 03 and Aug 09, 202017-Aug-2021-Aug-20
Aug 10 and Aug 16, 202024-Aug-2028-Aug-20
Aug 17 and Aug 23, 202031-Aug-204-Sep-20
Aug 24 and Aug 30, 20207-Sep-2011-Sep-20
Aug 31 and Sep 06, 202014-Sep-2018-Sep-20
Sep 07 and Sep 13, 202021-Sep-2025-Sep-20
Sep 14 and Sep 20, 202028-Sep-202-Oct-20
Sep 20 and Sep 27, 20205-Oct-209-Oct-20
Sep 28 and Oct 04, 202012-Oct-2016-Oct-20
Oct 05 and Oct 11, 202019-Oct-2023-Oct-20
Oct 12 and Oct 18, 202026-Oct-2030-Oct-20



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About Ryan Guina

Ryan Guina is the founder and editor of Cash Money Life. He is a writer, small business owner, and entrepreneur. He served over 6 years on active duty in the USAF and is a current member of the IL Air National Guard.

Ryan started Cash Money Life in 2007 after separating from active duty military service and has been writing about financial, small business, and military benefits topics since then. He also writes about military money topics and military and veterans benefits at The Military Wallet.

Ryan uses Personal Capital to track and manage his finances. Personal Capital is a free software program that allows him to track his net worth, balance his investment portfolio, track his income and expenses, and much more. You can open a free account here.

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  1. floreece says

    They mailed my refund check out on 2/22/2016 and I still haven’t received it any idea what’s going on?

  2. Jessica says

    My tax returns have received 03/02/2018 my return shows that it is being processed take this long to be approved will get approved soon.

  3. Kristee Delgado says

    I filed my taxes January 30th 2019 I still haven’t got no answer on the day I will be receiving my check I can’t even look up on the where’s my refund app because it’s saying that there’s no information

  4. JOE GERHART says

    I FILLIED MY 2020 RETURN ON FEB 14TH 2021, RETURN WAS ACCTEPTED ON FEB 14TH 2021.
    IT IS NOW MAY 26TH AND STILL NO REFUND. CALLING DOES ABSOLUTLY NOTHING TO HELP.
    SO AGGRAVATED…

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