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How to Check a Federal Income Tax Refund


Wait until the IRS confirms that it has received your tax return. If you have e-filed your return, wait at least 72 hours; if you have mailed a paper copy, wait at least three weeks.


Have a copy of your federal income tax return available for reference. The IRS will require information from it in order to process your refund inquiry.


Contact the IRS. You can request refund information by telephone by using the IRS Refund Hotline at (800) 829-1954 or by visiting "Where's My Refund" at the IRS website (see Resources). "Where's My Refund" is not available on Mondays between midnight and 3 a.m.


Provide your personal information when prompted. Enter your Social Security number. If you filed a joint return, you can use either your number or your spouse's number. Give your filing status and the exact refund amount. You will not be able to complete your request without the above information.


Receive your federal tax refund information. Both the IRS website and Refund Hotline will give you an estimated date of when you can expect your refund.


Initiate a refund trace. According to the IRS, "If you don't receive your refund within 28 days from the original IRS mailing date shown on Where's My Refund?, you can start a refund trace online."

Tips and Warnings

  • Amended tax return information is not available via the Refund Hotline or the IRS website.

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