Like it or not, tax season is upon us. If you’re anticipating a refund for the 2020 tax year, you likely are wondering when you’ll receive it. Thanks to e-file choices, the answer to “when will I get my tax refund?” is easy to figure out.
Regardless if you plan to file early or later in the season, it’s exciting to receive money back. If you want to know when you’ll get your tax refund, this guide is for you.
When Will I Get My Tax Refund?
Filing taxes wasn’t always simple. Everything was done by paper and you had to wait weeks, if not months, to get your refund.
Now, how soon you receive your refund largely depends on how you file your taxes. While there is no guarantee, the IRS states that they process most refunds within 21 days.
If you use e-file and have an uncomplicated return, you could receive your refund a few weeks after February 12, 2021. That said, if you use the free IRS e-file option and choose direct deposit, you could get your refund in about ten days.
However, if you mail in your taxes, you should expect to wait at least an additional eight weeks, if not longer. Also, if you have a more complex return, it may take longer than the typical 21-day period to receive your refund.
If you’re anxious about receiving your funds, it’s best to mark on your calendar when you filed your taxes to help quell your anxiety.
You can verify the status of your refund directly on the IRS site if you e-filed your taxes more than 21 days ago.
How Soon Can I File My Taxes?
Many people ask themselves, “how soon can I file my taxes?” and believe they can file when they have all of their tax documentation. They’re correct. Technically, it’s possible to file when you have all of your tax documents.
That doesn’t mean the IRS will immediately process your return. They won’t officially accept returns until around February 12, 2021 for the 2020 tax year.
Additionally, most tax software programs allow you to file at any time but won’t submit your information until the IRS begins to process eFile returns.
There are several important dates to remember before filing your taxes. These include:
- Employers have until January 31 to send you W-2s for 2020 earnings
- Clients have until January 31 to send you 1099s for 2020 freelance earnings
- Brokerages have until February 15 to send you 1099-Bs for proceeds from stock sales or dividends
You may require other tax documents to file your taxes. It’s best to consult with a tax professional to determine what is needed for your situation.
Once you have all your necessary tax documents, you can file your taxes.
If you plan on filing your taxes early, H&R Block is our choice for the best full-service tax service. They consistently offer better prices than TurboTax and if you have a simple return, you can file your Federal Tax Return for free.
2021 IRS Refund Schedule Chart
You want to consult the IRS tax refund schedule to learn when you can anticipate receiving your funds. The IRS refund dates below are estimates based on what the IRS has made available thus far.
However, if you have a straightforward return, it’s safe to assume the dates are trustworthy.
Do you want to know when to expect my tax refund? Here is the IRS tax refund calendar.
|Tax Refund 2021 Calendar|
|Date You File Taxes||When to Expect Direct Deposit||When to Expect Paper Check|
|Feb 12 - Feb 13, 2021||Feb. 26, 2021||Mar. 5, 2021|
|Feb 14 - Feb 20, 2021||Mar. 5, 2021||Mar. 12, 2021|
|Feb 21 - Feb 27, 2021||Mar. 12, 2021||Mar. 19, 2021|
|Feb 28 - Mar 6, 2021||Mar. 19, 2021||Mar. 26, 2021|
|Mar 7 - Mar 13, 2021||Mar. 26, 2021||Apr. 2, 2021|
|Mar 14 - Mar 20, 2021||Apr. 2, 2021||Apr. 9, 2021|
|Mar 21 - Mar 27, 2021||Apr. 9, 2021||Apr. 16, 2021|
|Mar 28 - Apr 3, 2021||Apr. 16, 2021||Apr. 23, 2021|
|Apr 4 - Apr 10, 2021||Apr. 23, 2021||Apr. 30, 2021|
|Apr 11 - Apr 17, 2021||Apr. 30, 2021||May 7, 2021|
|Apr 18 - Apr 24, 2021||May 7, 2021||May 14, 2021|
|Apr 25 - May 1, 2021||May 14, 2021||May 21, 2021|
|May 2 - May 8, 2021||May 21, 2021||May 28, 2021|
|May 9 - May 15, 2021||May 28, 2021||Jun. 4, 2021|
|May 16 - May 22, 2021||Jun. 4, 2021||Jun. 11, 2021|
|May 23 - May 29, 2001||Jun. 11, 2021||Jun. 18, 2021|
It’s best to allow several days after the 21-day window before contacting the IRS about the status of your tax refund. Per the IRS website, they have long wait times via their phone number.
However, if you wish to contact them by phone, you can reach the IRS at 800-829-1040.
If you want to know your refund status, it’s easiest to use the Get Refund Status on the IRS website. You will need to provide several pieces of information to learn your IRS refund status.
This information includes:
- Your Social Security Number
- Tax filing status
- Your refund amount
It’s crucial to provide the correct information and the refund amount listed on your return. If any of the above three pieces of information you provide doesn’t match what the IRS has on file, you will receive an error message.
Don’t fret if you receive an error. You can access the information as often as you want. Upon providing the correct information, the tracking tool will provide the status and the anticipated direct deposit dates of all refunds.
Save Your Refund
Saving your refund can be the best way to use it. You can use one of the accounts below to put it to the best use.
Coronavirus Delays and Date Changes
You may remember that the filing deadline was extended to July 15, 2020 for the 2019 tax year. This was due to delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. We’re not anticipating seeing this for the 2020 tax year.
While the April 15, 2021 tax deadline is in place this year, it’s realistic to expect that there will be delays in processing returns. Many IRS employees will be working from home, thus causing delays – especially if you file by mail.
*Update – the IRS just announced an extension until May 17, 2021 to file your taxes.*
If at all possible, use eFile when filing your taxes. Filing them by mail will cause each step of the process will take additional time.
It’s feasible to expect a delay if you’ve already filed your return. In the event your return requires special attention or additional information is necessary, this will likely slow the process further.
In addition to delays tied to COVID-19, early filers should expect additional lag time in processing. Congress passed tax law changes late in December that will impact early filers.
The primary laws that changed impact the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC). Any refund that includes those will be held until February 15, 2021.
Preventing fraud is the main reason for the delay since the IRS wants to avoid processing duplicate returns.
2020 Tax Year FAQs
Preparing your taxes is often stressful. Below are several common tax questions many people ask, along with answers.
When is the Deadline to File Taxes for 2020?
The deadline to file taxes for the 2020 tax year is May 17, 2021. If you’re choosing e-file, you must submit your taxes by April 15, 2021 at the latest.
If you’re mailing a paper copy, they need a stamp date of May 17, 2021.
What Happens if I Don’t Pay My Taxes?
It’s tempting to avoid filing your taxes, particularly if you owe the IRS money. It’s expensive to make this mistake.
The IRS charges a late fee of up to 25 percent of the unpaid tax. When you’re more than 60 days late, they charge additional fees.
If missing the deadline is a legitimate concern, apply for an extension. Doing this will give you until October 15, 2021 to file.
Here’s the IRS link to file for an extension.
What’s the Fastest Way to Get My Refund?
Are you expecting to receive money back from the IRS? You may want to know the fastest way to get a tax refund.
Using e-file is the fastest way to receive your refund as most returns using e-file process within 21 days of receipt. Additionally, request a direct deposit of your refund to ensure the prompt arrival of the funds.
It’s appropriate to use the IRS tax refund tracker to learn when you will receive your refund.
You can track your refund in three ways:
Some companies market tax refund loans so you can receive your money faster. Unless you desperately need the cash, it’s best to avoid these. They are high in fees and may cause other issues if there’s a problem with your return.
Where’s My State Refund?
Most individuals file their state taxes at the same time they file their federal taxes. Your state taxes often don’t take as long to process, but you still may ask yourself, “where is my state tax refund?” and not know where to start.
Click on the links below to go to your state’s refund tracker to learn the status of your state taxes.
How Can I Check My Refund Status?
It’s understandable to want to know the status of your return and track your tax refund.
As discussed, the best choice to check your status is to use the Get Refund Status page on the IRS site or use their app.
Remember, it’s best to wait at least 21 days after filing your taxes to use this tool.
What Should I do With My IRS Refund?
It’s tempting to spend your refund on a big screen TV. However, that’s not a wise way to use the money.
There are several smart uses for a refund, including:
Pay off debt – Do you have debt? If so, paying it down could be the best thing to do for your finances.
SoFi is an excellent option to consolidate and refinance that debt to lower your rates and pay it off quicker.
Invest – Investing is an awesome way to use the extra money. If investing in the stock market is overwhelming to you, there are affordable ways to receive help.
Betterment is an excellent choice as they manage your investments for you, ensuring they align with your goals. They offer this at a ridiculously low price.
Don’t like the stock market? Fundrise is an excellent option that allows you to invest in real estate with as little as $10.
Save – This sounds boring, but if you don’t have an emergency fund, saving a portion of your tax refund is a wise move.
CIT Bank is an outstanding choice for saving with their money market account. The account pays .45 percent with a $100 deposit. It operates like a savings account and has the same FDIC-insurance protection.
Spending on something fun is fine, just don’t foolishly waste a large refund.
What Are Some Expected Tax Refund Delays?
Being realistic is vital when it comes to delays from the IRS in processing your return. If you claim certain credits and deductions, this may raise questions for the processor.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t claim them or that there is a problem with your return. It means certain instances may cause delays.
- Claiming the EITC or ACTC
- Claiming the home office deduction
- Filing your taxes too early
- Errors on your tax return
If you claim the first three credits and deductions, it’s reasonable to expect a slight delay. Likewise, filing too early or a return with errors will cause delays.
A service like H&R Block assists you in avoiding the last two issues to help ensure there’s no delay in your refund. They also offer a free IRS tax refund estimator to help you see what you may receive.
Again, wait at least 21 days to use the IRS tax refund checker.
Tax season is stressful for many people, especially those needing their refund quickly or those with complicated tax issues. Don’t let that stress cause you to make a mistake or have unreasonable expectations.
If you’re wondering when you will get your refund, remember it takes time. You can use the IRS tax refund tracker but allow at least 21 days from the date you filed your taxes to receive an accurate estimate.
What are your plans for your tax refund? How much are you anticipating receiving this year?