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Ah the glorious relief of filing your tax return, especially if it’s accompanied by the joy of learning you’re going to get a tax refund. But then you start to wonder, “Where is my tax refund?”

We’ve got you covered with answers to common tax return questions – along with a handy tax refund schedule for 2019. (

When Are My Tax Returns Due?

First, before we talk about getting your money back, let’s talk about when you have to send in your tax return paperwork.

The IRS officially began accepting tax returns for the 2019 tax season on January 28, and the 2019 tax deadline to file for individuals is Monday, April 15, for most states. However, if you live in Maine and Massachusetts, the Patriots’ Day holiday on April 15 and in Washington D.C. and the Emancipation Day holiday on April 16 gave those states’ taxpayers an extra two days – they have until April 17, 2019, to file their returns.

Hoping to delay the pain by filing for an extension? Remember that an extension only gives you more time to file, not more time to pay. So even if you choose to file for an extension, you still must pay any estimated taxes you owe by the tax deadline; otherwise you can be subject to a penalty.

If you fail to file, that penalty is 5% of your unpaid taxes for each month your tax return is late, up to 25%. But if you file and just don’t pay, you’ll owe a little less if you rectify your error soon – that penalty is .05% of your unpaid taxes each month, up to 25%. Note that interest will accrue as well at a rate equal to the federal short-term rate (currently at an annual rate of 2.52%), plus 3%.

If you do decide to file for an extension, your paperwork will be due on October 15, 2019.

When Can I Expect My Refund in 2019?

Whether you were an early tax filer or got your tax return paperwork finished just in the nick of time, it’s very common to wonder where your tax refund is. You probably won’t have to wait long: In 2019 the IRS reported that they were expecting most refunds to be issued in less than 21 days.

The good news is that tracking the status of your refund is easier than ever. You can check the status of your refund on the IRS “Where’s My Refund” site or via the IRS2GO mobile app. You’ll need to know your Social Security or Tax ID number, your filing status and your exact refund amount.

According to the IRS website, you should be able to check your status 24 hours after e-filing and four weeks after mailing your return – with updates made daily.

And even though the government shutdown was in progress during the beginning of the tax filing process, it didn’t impact tax refunds even if you were an e-filer. Just as tax season was swinging into gear, the shutdown ended on February 15, 2019.

For the quickest return, make sure to e-file and opt for direct deposit, rather than a mailed check. The IRS issues most refunds in less than 21 days.

2019 Refund Delays

There are two key exceptions to the estimated 21-day return timeline. Due to the “Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act of 2015,” the IRS must hold tax refunds that include the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) until February 15, 2019. According to the law, the entire refund must be held, not just the portion associated with the EITC or ACTC. So if your situation includes that, be aware that you shouldn’t expect your refund until the week of February 25 at the earliest.

2019 IRS Refund Schedule

Wondering exactly when you might expect your tax return? Based on the trends of years past, you can use this chart (source: The College Investor) as a guideline to estimate when you should receive your payment.

2019 IRS Tax Refund Estimated Calendar
Date Accepted Direct Deposit Sent Paper Check Mailed
Jan. 28 – Feb. 2, 2019 Feb. 15, 2019 Feb. 22, 2019
Feb. 3 – Feb. 9, 2019 Feb. 22, 2019 March 1, 2019
Feb. 10 – Feb. 16, 2019 March 1, 2019 March 8, 2019
Feb. 17 – Feb. 23, 2019 March 8, 2019 March 15, 2019
Feb. 24 – March 2, 2019 March 15, 2019 March 22, 2019
March 3 – March 9, 2019 March 22, 2019 March 29, 2019
March 10 – March 16, 2019 March 29, 2019 April 5, 2019
March 17 – March 23, 2019 April 5, 2019 April 12, 2019
March 24 – March 30, 2019 April 12, 2019 April 19, 2019
March 31 – April 6, 2019 April 19, 2019 April 26, 2019
April 7 – April 13, 2019 April 26, 2019 May 3, 2019
April 14 – April 20, 2019 May 3, 2019 May 10, 2019
April 21 – April 27, 2019 May 10, 2019 May 17, 2019
April 28 – May 4, 2019 May 17, 2019 May 24, 2019

 

Track Your Federal Refund with the IRS Refund Status Tool

As mentioned, it’s easier than ever to find out where your tax refund is.

First, get your tax return handy so you can easily provide the information they need:

  • Social Security number
  • Filing status
  • Exact amount of your refund

Notes said: link with a UX-friendly button, like the one on this page. (Think this is a design thing?)

 

Track Your State Refund

Often your state refund will come in faster than your federal one. Although timing varies by state, you must file your federal return first to begin the process, but you don’t have to wait for your federal return to receive your state payment.

Wondering how your state refund is doing? Click on the links below to be taken directly to your state’s refund tracker. If your state isn’t listed, it’s because certain states don’t collect income tax.
Alabama

Arizona

Arkansas

California

Colorado

Connecticut

Delaware

Georgia

Hawaii

Idaho

Illinois

Indiana

Iowa

Kansas

Kentucky

Louisiana

Maine

Maryland

Massachusetts

Michigan

Minnesota

Mississippi

Missouri

Montana

Nebraska

New Jersey

New Mexico

New York

North Carolina

North Dakota

Ohio

Oklahoma

Oregon

Pennsylvania

Rhode Island

South Carolina

Utah

Vermont

Virginia

Washington D.C.

West Virginia

Wisconsin

Common Tax Refund Schedule and Tracking Questions, Answered

Still wondering where your tax refund is? Here is a short list of “FAQs” for easy reference.

What are the current deadlines?

Tax returns are due April 15, 2019, for all states, except Maine and Massachusetts, which have until April 17, 2019. If you file for an extension, you have until October 15, 2019, to send your paperwork. However, you still must pay your estimated taxes to avoid a penalty.

Why might my tax refund be delayed?

If your tax documentation includes the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC), your tax refund will be delayed until February 15, 2019. Other reasons for a potential delay include the wrong name or Social Security number, math mistakes and incorrectly putting information on the wrong line. Be sure to double-check your return before you submit to avoid an unnecessary delay.

  • What things can expedite my refund?

Use the e-file option and choose “direct deposit” for the fastest payment of your tax refund.

  • When e-filing, how long might it take on average?

According to the IRS, refunds typically go out within 21 days after the paperwork is received.

  • How can I track my refund?

You can check the status of your tax refund on the IRS “Where’s My Refund” site or via the IRS2GO mobile app.

  • How should I best spend my tax refund?
    Of course it’s tempting to blow it on a fun vacation or new wardrobe, but you’ll get more bang for your buck if you make wise financial choices. Consider paying down debt, building your emergency fund or even investing in your home.

How will you be spending your tax refund? Let us know in the comments below!

This Post Has 10 Comments

    1. Hi Ramavtar:

      Unfortunately, as a mortgage company, we don’t have access to that kind of information on your behalf. If you’re referring to your federal return, the IRS has a lookup tool where you can check the status of your refund. With state and local returns, you’ll have to get in touch with your taxing authority. I hope this helps!

    1. Hi Jacqueline:

      While this article only covers federal refund schedules, if you were due a refund from your state and haven’t received it yet, I recommend reaching out to your state taxing authority. That’s probably a good first step. Have a good day!

    1. Good evening, Yolanda:

      If you mean your refund, that’s not a question we can answer, but instead one for the IRS. They do have a tool where you can check your refund status. Alternatively, you can give them a call at (800) 829-1040. Enjoy the rest of your holiday!

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