When to Expect a Federal Tax Refund Check?

by Jack Ori

If your employer withheld more money from your taxes than you owed this year, you will get a tax refund. Some taxpayers look forward to tax season so they can get their refund check. The Internal Revenue Service issues refund checks on a weekly basis. The exact date you get your refund depends on when you filed your taxes and whether you requested direct deposit or a paper check.

Acceptance by IRS

The Internal Revenue Service must accept your tax return and log it into their system before you can get a refund. When you submit a tax return to the IRS, agents do a quick audit to ensure that your math is correct. Once the IRS receives your tax return, it takes agents about 72 hours to log your return into the system and perform the audit. The IRS then issues your refund.

Refund Cycle

The IRS issues refund checks every Friday starting in the middle of January. It provides an estimated refund check date for each week of the tax season every year. For 2011, the earliest date you can get your refund check is January 28. The IRS' dates are estimates, not exact dates. You are likely to get your refund more quickly if you request direct deposit than if you request a paper check.

Rapid Refund Loan

Some tax preparation services offer a rapid refund option. A rapid refund is a loan of your refund amount. The tax preparation service approves the loan and gives you the check within 24 to 48 hours. The tax preparation service takes 5 to 25 percent of your refund amount as interest on the loan. When the IRS processes your refund, the tax preparation service gets your refund check as repayment of the loan.

Checking Your Refund

After the IRS accepts your return, it emails you to confirm its acceptance. Starting 72 hours after you get the email, you can check online to track the status of your refund at the IRS' website. You must have your exact refund amount to use this service. Call the IRS at 1-800-829-4477 and enter your Social Security number and refund amount to check your refund status over the phone.

Photo Credits

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