As the tax deadline of April 15th approaches we are all anxious to get details regarding our refund.  This leads to tax refund myths circulating on social media that are easy to believe.  There is no secret way to find out when your refund will be issued, but there are facts to help understand the process.  The IRS issues nine out of ten refunds in less than 21 days.  You can always check the process of your refund through the IRS website tool “Where’s My Refund.”  Through the “Where’s My Refund” you can check status within 24 hours after e-filing or four weeks if mailed paper return.  

You should only call the IRS to speak to a representative about your return if:

  • It has been 21 days or more since your return was e-filed
  • If you mailed in your return it has now been more than six weeks
  • And the “Where’s My Refund” tool tells you to contact the IRS.

Common Myths about Tax Refunds:

  • Calling the IRS or your tax professional will provide a refund date

Taxpayers mistakenly believe calling the IRS or their tax professional is the best way to get a refund date.  But the best way to check the status of a refund is through the online tool “Where’s My Refund.”  You can download the app as well or if you have not internet access you can call the automated refund hotline at 800-829-1954.

  • Requesting a tax transcript is a way to get a refund date

Ordering a tax transcript from the IRS will not help you find out when you will get your tax refund.  A tax transcript only validates past income and tax filing status for mortgage, student and small business loan applications.  If you ever lose your W-2 forms a tax transcript can help with tax preparation as it provides income information. 

  • “Where’s My Refund” must be wrong as no deposit date appears or refund amount is less than expected

The “Where’s My Refund” tool is updated once a day on both the website and the mobile app.  Even though the IRS issues most refund within 21 days there are a variety of reasons why it may take longer such as an incomplete return or needs further review.  Situations that could decrease a refund include math errors, delinquent federal taxes, child support, student loans or other delinquent federal non-tax obligations.  A letter will be mailed to the taxpayer explaining why the adjustments were made.