The COVID-19 pandemic changed the deadlines to file federal tax returns and pay your tax obligations for the last couple of years. But this year, the deadline has returned to normal.
Haven’t filed your taxes yet? Here’s what you need to know about when you can expect your refund.
Here’s When You Should Receive Your Refund for Tax Year 2021
Almost everyone I know procrastinates their taxes until close to the due date. However, if the IRS owes you a refund, money expert Clark Howard says it’s a good idea to claim your money as soon as possible.
“If you are owed a refund, don’t wait,” Clark says. “If you prepare your own taxes, go ahead and file your return. Get a refund as quickly as you can.”
There’s an age-old adage that says, “In this world, nothing is certain except death and taxes.” So kudos to the IRS for consistently issuing most refunds in less than a month even throughout the pandemic.
The IRS says it issues more than 90% of refunds in 21 days or less. Eight in 10 taxpayers get their refunds faster by using e-file and direct deposit, the IRS says, calling it the “safest, fastest way to receive your refund.”
If you file a paper return or request your refund by mail, you can anticipate waiting longer than 21 days. There are other factors that can cause delays as well.
Here’s our estimated tax refund schedule. As the IRS has not published an exact schedule for 2021 tax year refunds, the following chart is based on published guidelines and estimates from previous years. Remember, these dates are only estimates.
|IRS receives your return the week of...||Anticipated refund date if e-filed with direct deposit||Anticipated refund date if e-filed with refund mailed||Anticipated refund date if paper return filed with direct deposit||Anticipated refund date if paper return filed with refund mailed|
|Jan. 24||Feb. 7||Feb. 14||Feb. 21||Feb. 28|
|Jan. 31||Feb. 14||Feb. 21||Feb. 28||March 7|
|Feb. 7||Feb. 21||Feb. 28||March 7||March 14|
|Feb. 14||Feb. 28||March 7||March 14||March 21|
|Feb. 21||March 7||March 14||March 21||March 28|
|Feb. 28||March 14||March 21||March 28||April 4|
|March 7||March 21||March 28||April 4||April 11|
|March 14||March 28||April 4||April 11||April 18|
|March 21||April 4||April 11||April 18||April 25|
|March 28||April 11||April 18||April 25||May 2|
|April 4||April 18||April 25||May 2||May 9|
|April 11||April 25||May 2||May 9||May 16|
|April 18||May 2||May 9||May 16||May 23|
3 Ways To Track Your Refund
There are a few different ways to track your refund once you submit your tax return:
If you file your tax return electronically, the IRS says you need to wait 24 hours before checking the status of your 2022 tax refund. That waiting period changes to four weeks if you mail your return.
In order to check your refund status, you’ll need:
- Social Security number or ITIN
- Filing status
- Exact refund amount
If you check the status from the “Where’s My Refund” webpage, you’ll need to click on the blue rectangular bar that says “Check My Refund Status” (pictured below).
The “Check My Refund Status” page is available only for desktops. To access the same information via your smartphone or tablet, you’ll need the IRS2Go App.
The IRS says you should resort to calling only if it’s been more than 21 days since you e-filed or if “Where’s My Refund” tells you to contact the IRS.
Why You Don’t Want a Big Tax Refund
Expecting a big tax refund in 2022? Clark says you may want to rethink your strategy in the future.
“Are you excited that you’re getting a big tax refund?” Clark says.
“Don’t be excited about that! Because you know what you’re doing? A method of forced savings, where you pay extra money to the feds all year. You’re making an interest-free loan to the federal government so you’ll have money [arrive] almost like a bonus check or small lottery winning. Bad plan!”