The report, which offers some basic tips to guide filers through tax season, says "the IRS issues more than nine out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days." However, there are some exceptions.
If you've claimed an Earned Income Tax Credit — a benefit for working people with low to moderate income — or an Additional Child Tax Credit — a tax reduction you may receive if you have children and your income meets certain qualifications — you won't be eligible to have your refund issued before Feb. 27. That's also assuming there are no outstanding issues with your return, the report notes.
"Other returns may require additional review for a variety of reasons and take longer," the report continues. "For example, the IRS, along with its partners in the tax industry, continue to strengthen security reviews to help protect against identity theft and refund fraud."
Still, if you're curious about the status of your refund, try checking online first, as a call to the IRS likely won't result in any new information. "Many people mistakenly think that talking to the IRS or calling their tax professional is the best way to find out when they will get their refund," according to the report.
Instead, the IRS encourages filers to use the official IRS website to check their refund status, which is typically updated once a day. Many online filing tools also allow you to track your refund.
The IRS website also "provides many self-service tools for individuals, businesses and tax professionals." For example, "taxpayers can view their tax account, get answers to common questions such as eligibility for a tax benefit or find free tax preparation help."
If you haven't yet filed your taxes, the quickest way to get your refund may be by filing online and opting for direct deposit versus a mailed paper refund. "Eight in 10 taxpayers get their refunds faster by using e-file and direct deposit," according to the report. "It's the safest, fastest way to receive a refund." The deadline this year is April 17.
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Video by Mary Stevens