How to Track Your Federal Tax Refund


After filing your 2023 federal tax return, you’re probably eager to get your tax refund if you overpaid your taxes last year. Luckily, the IRS makes it easy to check the status of your refund online. Plus, compared to recent history, the IRS says it’s on strong footing to issue more than 9 out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days. Here’s everything you need to know to track your 2023 federal tax refund.

How to track your federal tax refund

Wait at least 24 hours after filing

The IRS needs time to process your tax return, so you’ll have to be patient before checking your refund status. If you e-filed, you can check as soon as 24 hours after the IRS received your tax return. For paper returns, you’ll need to wait at least four weeks before checking.

Have your information ready

To check your refund status, you’ll need to provide your Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), filing status (single, married filing jointly, etc.), and the exact refund amount you’re expecting.

Use the IRS2Go App or IRS.gov website

The IRS offers a mobile app called IRS2Go and an online refund tracking tool. Both allow you to check the status of your federal tax refund.

On the IRS2Go app, you’ll tap “Refund Status” and enter your information. On the irs.gov/refunds page, click “Check My Refund Status.”

Understand the refund status meaning

The IRS provides a refund status that explains where your refund is in the process:

  • Return Received: The return is being processed.

  • Refund Approved: The refund has been approved and is in the queue for payment.

  • Refund Sent: The refund payment has been sent.

Also check for a refund date if your refund was approved to get the expected deposit or mailing date.

Be patient for your refund

Most tax refunds are issued by the IRS within 21 days. However, the IRS says refund times can vary depending on volume. Requesting your refund by direct deposit is faster than waiting for a paper check.

What if it’s been longer than 21 days?

Don’t file a second tax return. If it’s been more than 21 days since e-filing, the IRS recommends you call them. The “Where’s My Refund?” tracker will also prompt you to call the IRS if need be.

Unfortunately, calling the IRS isn’t always a breezy, reliable solution. Once you build the resolve to call the IRS, here’s our guide to increase your odds of getting to a real human on the other end of the line.

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