Where is my Tax Refund?

It's been a long since you filed your tax return and you're still wondering "Where is my tax refund?"


First you need to check your Federal Tax Refund Status which you can do by using the IRS's internet tool called "Where is my Tax Refund?" . This will usually be able to help you find the problem.

Sometimes the refund has not been issued yet because of a delay in processing. This could sometimes be because of a tax audit. So if your refund status indicates a processing delay look out to see if you get a letter from the IRS. The sooner you respond to the letter the sooner your return will be processed.

Now if the IRS claims to have sent out your refund on a certain date and too much time passed and you did not get it, it could mean a few things.

Direct Deposit

If you chose to have your refund direct deposited it can mean that you made a mistake with entering your bank account information.

If that happens the bank can:

  1. Send back the money to the IRS and the IRS will send it to you in about three weeks as a paper check.

  2. Deposit the refund into the bank account that is on your return even if it is the wrong account.

What to do?

First, call your bank try to find out where the refund went (back to the IRS or into an account). If it went into a different account it is bad news.

You can also call the IRS to see if they got it back. It might take a few days for the information to show up in their computer.

Paper Check

If you chose to receive your refund by paper check, it might have either:

  1. gotten lost in the mail
  2. or

  3. returned to the IRS as undeliverable.

What to do?

First, check the address on your tax return.

If it is not correct it was most likely returned to the IRS an undeliverable tax refund. You can correct that either by filing form 8822 or on the IRS website by "Where is my Tax Refund?".

If you want to do it on the IRS website then you need to wait a week or two. Then when you check your refund status you will have an option of correcting your address. Once corrected the IRS will send it out again and you should receive it in about three weeks.

If the address on your return is correct then the refund check is most probably lost. In this case you need to file Form 3911 which you can download here.

You can also get form 3911 from the IRS partially filled out either by calling the refund hotline 800-829-1954 or on their online tool "Where is my Tax Refund?". This option is only available 28 days after your refund check was mailed out.

Form 3911

When you send in form 3911 the IRS will trace your refund check. After they find out what happened to your check they will stop the original check, if necessary, and send you a new check. You can expect to get the new check in about six weeks.

This form can also be used if your refund was lost or stolen after you received it.

› Where is my Tax Refund?


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