Here's when you can expect your tax refund to hit your bank account, according to the IRS

Here's when you can expect your tax refund to hit your bank account, according to the IRS

checking on tax refund

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Your tax refund should hit your bank account within 21 days if you file online.

  • Tax Day 2019, the last day to file your 2018 tax return, is Monday, April 15.
  • Your tax refund will typically be available within 21 days if you file electronically.
  • Filing taxes electronically with direct deposit ensures the refund gets to your bank account more quickly, the IRS says.
  • The IRS has resources to help you file your taxes and get your refund quickly.

Most people dread filing their taxes - but nearly everyone is hoping for a refund.

The IRS was affected by the record 35-day government shutdown, though the organization said it would still work to process tax returns and provide refunds to filers on time. Now that the shutdown is over, at least temporarily, funding will be restored to the IRS and its 80,000-person workforce is expected to return to work.

The IRS began accepting tax returns Monday, January 28, and if you're expecting to get money back this year, you may be wondering exactly when you will receive your refund.

The short answer is that you'll receive it almost certainly within three weeks of when you file your taxes. But there are ways to get it sooner.


Filing online is the quickest way to get your tax refund. Using snail mail will get the job done, but it takes more time.

Read more: Here's how you can file your taxes online for free this year

For a quicker refund, the IRS suggests you e-file and request your refund via direct deposit, the chosen method for most taxpayers. The IRS says direct deposit - which the government also uses for Social Security and Veterans Affairs payments - is "simple, safe, and secure."

If you filed electronically, you should receive a refund within 21 days. The IRS updates its system daily, usually overnight.

The traditional paper-and-pencil option means, in most cases, your refund will arrive within six weeks of filing. If it doesn't, an error or incompletion may be holding up the process.


Last year, about three-fourths of filers received refunds totaling about $285 billion, according to the New York Times, which shakes out to an average of $2,800 per filer. But the new tax laws that went into effect in 2018 could change refunds for millions of people this year.

Read more: Huge swaths of Americans should expect bigger tax refunds this year, and you can use H&R Block's free calculator to estimate yours

According to the Times, a Treasury Department analysis provided to the Government Accountability Office estimated that compared to last year, about 4 million fewer filers will receive refunds this year, while about 4 million more filers will have a balance to pay on their taxes due to the new withholding system.

Meanwhile, a team of UBS analysts projected that most married filers with two children would see a pretty sizeable boost in their refunds for 2018 compared to 2017, especially those making under $40,000 a year and those making between $125,000 and $400,000.

Taxpayers can check the status of their tax refund using the IRS's return-tracking service within 24 hours of filing your tax return online - but to do so, you'll need three things:

  • Your Social Security number or individual taxpayer identification number.
  • Your filing status.
  • The exact refund amount.

The IRS also says the earned income tax credit and the additional child tax credit cannot be issued until mid-February as a means to protect against identity theft and tax fraud. Those refunds will be ready as soon as February 27.