How do I check the status of my IRS refund? How long does it take IRS to approve it?

If you want to know how to check the status of your IRS refund and how long it takes for the agency to approve it, do not hesitate to consult this article where we give you all the details.


Tax season can be a stressful time, but receiving a tax refund can be a relief. Understanding how to check the status of your Internal Revenue Service (IRS) refund and knowing the expected approval times can help ease some of that stress. In 2024, the IRS has streamlined the process, making it easier for taxpayers to track their refunds.

Checking your IRS refund status

To check the status of your IRS refund, you can use the “Where’s My Refund?” tool available on the IRS website or through the IRS2Go mobile app. This tool is updated once every 24 hours and provides the most up-to-date information regarding your refund status, so you need not check more than once a day.

To use “Where’s My Refund?”, you’ll need:

  • Your Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)
  • Your filing status (e.g., single, married filing jointly, etc.)
  • The exact refund amount you’re expecting

Once you enter this information, you’ll receive real-time updates on where your refund is in the process.

Understanding approval times

If you filed your taxes electronically and there are no errors on your return, you can generally expect your refund within 21 days. However, if you filed a paper return, it could take up to 4 weeks for your refund status to be available.

The IRS processes most returns efficiently, but there are instances where additional reviews may be necessary, which can extend the approval time. Factors that may affect your refund include:

  • Filing early or late in the tax season
  • Claiming certain credits such as Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC)
  • Errors on your tax return
  • Incomplete tax returns
  • Identity theft or fraud concerns
  • The taxpayer files an injured spouse claim

Refund less than expected

If a taxpayer refund isn’t what they expected, it may be due to changes made by the IRS. These changes could include corrections to Child Tax Credit or EITC amounts or an offset from all or part of the refund amount to pay past-due tax or debts. Through the TOP program, Bureau of the Fiscal Service(BFS) may reduce your refund (overpayment) and offset it to pay:

  • Past-due child support;
  • Federal agency non tax debts;
  • State income tax obligations; or
  • Certain unemployment compensation debts owed to a state (generally, these are debts for compensation paid due to fraud, or contributions owing to a state fund that weren’t paid).

You can contact the agency with which you have a debt to determine if your debt was submitted for a tax refund offset.

Tax return times

Tax return times depends on the method chosen by you. The table below will list out the return time for every method used;

Filing methodRefund methodWhen to expect your refund
E-fileDirect depositWithin 21 days
E-fileCheckWithin 21 days, plus about one week for check delivery
MailDirect depositIn about four weeks
MailCheckIn about four weeks, plus about one week for check delivery

Tips for a faster refund

To ensure a quicker refund process:

  • File electronically and choose direct deposit for your refund
  • Make sure your tax return is accurate and complete before submitting
  • Avoid peak times by filing before late March or after late April

Staying on top of things

The IRS has made significant strides in making tax refund tracking accessible and straightforward for taxpayers. By utilizing the available tools and understanding what affects processing times, taxpayers can better anticipate when they will receive their refunds. For more detailed assistance, visit IRS, download the IRS2Go mobile app  or by calling the agency’s automated refund hotline at 800-829-1954.

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