Refunds - How Long They Should Take

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If you file a complete and accurate tax return and you are due a refund, your refund will be issued within six weeks from the date we receive your return. If you filed electronically (including use of TeleFile), refund checks will be issued within three weeks after the acknowledgment date. For more information on Electronic Filing, refer to Electronic Filing or TeleFile for more information on TeleFile. Refunds from amended returns will be issued within 8-12 weeks. Injured spouse claims can take longer, depending on the circumstances. Refer to Failure to Pay Child Support, Federal Non-Tax and State Income Tax Obligations for more information concerning Injured Spouse Claims.

To check the progress of your current year refund, go to "Where's My Refund" or call the Refund Hotline at (800) 829-1954. Please allow 6 weeks after you mail your return before calling this automated system. When you call, you will need to provide the social security number, your filing status, and the amount of the refund.

There are several reasons for delayed refunds. An address change after filing the return, a name listed on the tax return that does not match with the name on the Social Security Records, failure to either sign the return or include necessary attachments such as Form W-2 (PDF) or schedules, and detected math errors, are some of the situations that may result in an additional 8-week delay in receiving your refund. Refer to Change of Address - How to Notify IRS for information concerning how to notify the IRS of an address change. Refer to Checklist of Common Errors When Preparing Your Tax Return for a checklist of common errors when preparing your tax return, and for additional items that may delay the processing of your return.

If you receive a refund to which you are not entitled, or one for an amount that is more than you expected, do not cash the check until you receive a notice explaining the difference, and follow the instructions on the notice.

On the other hand, if you receive a refund for a smaller amount than you expected, you may cash the check, and, if it is determined that you should have received more, you will later receive a check for the difference.

If you did not receive a notice and you have questions about the amount of your refund, you should wait two weeks after receiving the refund, then call 1-800-829-1040.

The IRS assists taxpayers in obtaining replacement checks for refunds that are verified as lost or stolen. Form 3911 (PDF), Taxpayer Statement Regarding Refund, may be required to start the replacement check process.


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