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How to check the status of your tax refund

Still awaiting your 202 tax refund? The IRS offers two simple tools to help you track it down and estimate how much longer you have to wait.

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The IRS is always busy during the spring season, but this year the agency is hustling more than ever to keep up with its extra workload and smaller staff.

Between processing third stimulus checks and managing many modified tax rebates introduced via Federal relief legislation, the IRS has had to adopt new procedures and even create new infrastructure to handle the increased demands of the 2021 tax season.

Not to mention, the U.S. post office has also been in crisis this past year with an increased workload and the pandemic's heavy burden on essential workers.

As a result, taxpayers have had to be patient when it comes to waiting on tax refunds, particularly if they filed paper tax returns through the post office.

If you're still waiting on your tax return to arrive, either through direct deposit to your bank or as a paper check, don't file a second tax return or call the IRS (per a statement on the agency's website).

Instead, use one of two tools available through the IRS website and/or its mobile app to check the status of your return.

IRS2Go is the official mobile app of the IRS, which you can use to check your refund status, make a payment, find free tax preparation assistance, sign up for helpful tax tips and more. The app is available in Spanish and English, and you can download it from Google Play, the Apple App Store or Amazon.

You can also use the "Where's My Refund" tool on the IRS website. To check your refund status, you will need your social security number or ITIN, your filing status and the exact refund amount you are expecting.

The IRS updates the tool's refund status on a daily basis, usually overnight, so check back in routinely for the most up-to-date information.

If it's been more than 21 days since you e-filed your federal tax return, you should you call the agency directly.

If you haven't filed your 2020 taxes yet, consider going with a tax prep software that offers expert tax assistance. Speaking with a tax-prep expert may help ensure that your return is accurate, which can help facilitate a timely return.

Here are Select's top picks for best tax filing software:


On TurboTax's secure site
  • Cost

    $0 to $170 federal, $0 to $50 per state

  • Free version


  • Mobile app


  • Live support

    Yes, costs extra

  • Better Business Bureau rating


Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.