The Wait for Tax Refunds Is Three to Six Weeks After Filing

By Kimberly Lankford
Kiplinger's Personal Finance
Sunday, April 19, 2009

QI filed my tax return a few weeks ago. When will I get my refund?

AIf you have filed your tax return, you're probably wondering when that refund money is going to arrive. Most people will receive a big chunk of cash this year: The average refund for people who have filed so far is about $2,700, which is 11 percent higher than last year's figure.

You should expect to get your refund about six weeks after the IRS receives your paper return, or within three weeks after the acknowledgment date if you file electronically.

You can check the status of your refund by using the Where's My Refund? tool at starting 72 hours after the IRS acknowledges receipt of your e-filing, or three to four weeks after mailing your paper return. You'll need to provide your Social Security number, filing status and the exact whole-dollar amount of your refund.

Remember, though, that the IRS never contacts people through e-mail requesting their personal information or bank-account details for direct deposit. If you receive such a message, it's a scam, no matter how legitimate it might look.

Although getting a tax refund now might feel good, it means that you gave the government a tax-free loan for the year. Wouldn't you rather have more money in each paycheck -- especially in this economy? People who received the current average refund of $2,700 could have received an extra $225 per month in their paychecks if they had adjusted their withholding instead.

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