IRS Refund Schedule

Don't you miss the IRS refund schedule? I do.

It was so easy. Once you filed your return, you were able to predict the exact date you will get your refund.

The last time the IRS published the refund schedule was in 2012 for tax year 2011. That year there was a fiasco with delayed refunds.

The IRS  decided NOT to publish the IRS refund schedule since. Instead they offer guidelines of when to expect the refund and encourage to check refund status online or via smartphone Apps.

According to the IRS nine out of ten refunds are issued within 21 days after the tax return was accepted. Occasionally a refund is issued later due to errors or audits. So you can expect your refund within 21 days after e-filing your return with some exceptions.

You don't have to wait three weeks to find out when your refund will come, you can always check your refund status at "Where's My Refunds?" online or IRS2GO on your smartphone.

Why did the IRS stop publishing the refund schedule?

In 2012 they implemented some new anti-fraud features which made them approve refunds much later than anticipated. This caused a lot of confusion when taxpayers did not get their refund according to the IRS refund schedule. 

Since then the IRS does not bind to a specific schedule, they will just issue the refunds as soon as it gets processed. This will not be in the exact order that they were filed but hopefully within the three week time-frame that they promised.

They also changed the refund status website which will be much clearer. Within 24 hours you will see if your refund was received. Also it will no longer show estimated refund dates only the actual ones.

With these changes that minimize false anticipation they hope to keep taxpayers relaxed about the timing of the refund.

So do we have to say good-bye to the chart with all those dates that we were able to see the exact date when we will receive the refund? Will they ever go back to a refund schedule?

Maybe. It depends if they will be able to settle to a more predictable system.

Updated January 27, 2015

› IRS Refund Schedule

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