If you overpay taxes to the federal government, you are entitled to a tax rebate, more commonly known as a tax refund. You can track your refund most easily if you filed a return electronically, but it is still possible if you mailed in your return. In either case, the IRS can track your refund for you if you provide specific information regarding your return. Electronic tax preparation companies can also assist you in tracking your refund.
Option 1: Visit the IRS "Where's My Refund" tool
If you know your Social Security number, your filing status and the exact amount of your refund you can enter this information online using Where's My Refund? tool to track your refund.
Responses you may receive from the tool include the direct deposit or mailing date of your refund, an indication that your return is still being processed or a notice that your address is incorrect.
If you filed your return electronically, you can generally access your information within 72 hours after the IRS acknowledges receiving your return. You may have to wait up to three or four weeks if you mailed in your return.
Option 2: Call the IRS
The "Where's My Refund" program has only been in existence since 2003. Before then you had to call the IRS to track down your refund. The IRS still dedicates a toll-free number to refund status reports. As with an online request, you should wait the appropriate amount of time to call the IRS depending on whether you mailed your return or filed it electronically. Have your return handy when you call for verification purposes. The IRS refund information number is 800-829-1954.
Option 3: Contact your electronic tax preparation service
If you used TurboTax to e-file your federal tax return, you should have received an estimated refund date based on the IRS refund process.
TurboTax offers MyTaxRefund, a free app for mobile that lets you track your e-filed federal tax return like a FedEx package, letting you know when the IRS projects that you will receive your refund.
Option 4: Check your bank account
If you requested a direct deposit of your refund, the IRS will not send you a notification at the time of delivery, so your deposit may already be in your account.