You can expect to receive your IRS tax refund within 21 business days from the time your tax returns are accepted, if you filed online. If you file by mail, your refund can take up to six months to reach you, so we recommend filing online, if possible. However, there are some exceptions that may delay your refund timing and ways to track your refund status.
There are a few reasons why your refund may be late. First, if you claimed the Earned Income Tax Credit, the IRS legally cannot process your refund until mid-February — so it may take until the end of February or early March to hit your account or mailbox.
Secondly, if there’s an error on your tax return, your refund may be delayed. If there’s an issue, the IRS will notify you by mail with next steps. You may need to file a corrected tax return in order to receive your refund.
In addition, even if you filed online, it can take longer for your refund to reach you if you opted to receive it by mail. We recommend choosing to have your refund direct deposited into your account, if possible. If not, be sure to verify your mailing address to ensure it delivers to the correct place.
Since the pandemic, the IRS has also experienced a backlog, causing significant delays in issuing refunds for millions of Americans. Filing early and online can help you prevent your tax refund from getting stuck in this backlog.
You can also check the status of your refund with the IRS’s “Check Your Refund” tool. It’s currently live for 2019, 2020, and 2021 tax returns, and will likely go live early in the tax season for 2022 returns.