Here’s Your Estimated 2020 Tax Refund Schedule

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IRS tax refund check
Image Credit: Dreamstime

Wondering when you might get the refund for your 2019 taxes from the IRS this year? It depends on when you file (along with a few other variables), but read on to learn what you should expect.

Here’s When You Can Look Forward to Your 2020 Tax Refund

The Internal Revenue Service will begin accepting returns on Monday, January 27. The deadline for filing your taxes is Wednesday, April 15.

Historically, the IRS says it issues most refunds in less than 21 calendar days after you file your return.

But you should know this: The way you file and how you request your refund can have an impact on how long it takes for your money to show up.

If you want to get your refund as soon as possible this year, the IRS says there’s one clear best way to file.

“The IRS encourages everyone to consider filing electronically and choosing direct deposit,” IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig says. “It’s fast, accurate and the best way to get your refund as quickly as possible.”

So, e-filing your taxes definitely beats sending in a paper return. Of course, everyone still has to make their own decision about which method to use when filing.

If you haven’t filed yet, Credit Karma’s free tax return prep software allows you to file for free. This service debuted in 2017 and stands out because it makes free prep software available to everyone regardless of income.

Important note for EITC/ACTC filers

If you file and claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC), you could be in for a longer wait than what you see below. This is to help prevent fraud.

By law, the earliest those refunds will be deposited into accounts is mid-February — yet the true wait time may even be longer than that.

“The IRS expects the first EITC/ACTC related refunds to be available in taxpayer bank accounts or on debit cards by the first week of March, if they chose direct deposit and there are no other issues with their tax return,” IRS.gov notes online.

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So without further ado, here’s our estimated tax refund schedule for 2020. Remember, these dates are only estimates!

2020 Tax Refund Schedule

If the 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
January 27February 10February 18February 24March 2
February 3February 18February 24March 2March 9
February 10February 24March 2March 9March 16
February 17March 2March 9March 16March 23
February 24March 9March 16March 23March 30
March 2March 16March 23March 30April 6
March 9March 23March 30April 6April 13
March 16March 30April 6April 13April 20
March 23April 6April 13April 20April 27
March 30April 13April 20April 27May 4
April 6April 20April 27May 4May 11
April 13April 27May 4May 11May 28

3 Ways to Track Your Refund

There are a few different ways to track your refund once you submit your tax return:

  1. IRS2GO App
  2. Get Refund Status
  3. Call the IRS at 800-829-1954

Where's My Refund tool

Be sure to allow 24 hours after you’ve e-filed before you check — or four weeks if you’re mailing a paper return. (The IRS says EITC/ACTC filers must wait until February 22 before they can begin checking.)

You just need the following info to get started tracking:

  • Social Security number
  • Your filing status
  • Your exact expected refund amount

Why You Actually Don’t Want a Big Refund

Finally, if you’re expecting a big refund, money expert Clark Howard says you might want to rethink your tax strategy.

“Are you excited that you are getting a big tax refund or you just got one?” the consumer champ says. “Don’t be excited about that!”

“Because you know what you’re doing? You’re using it as a method of forced savings, where you pay into the feds extra money all year long — making an interest-free loan to the federal government — so that you will have that money come almost like a bonus check or a small lottery winning. Bad plan!”

Clark has two key reasons why you don’t want a big tax refund, plus some guidance on what to do instead of getting a big refund going forward:

More Tax and Related Stories on Clark.com:

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