April 12, 2023 · Budget, Investment, Retirement, Savings

How to Track Your 2022 Federal Tax Refund

Are you expecting a federal tax refund this year? That’s great news, especially if you were hoping to pay bills, store some in savings or investments or to treat yourself (or someone else) to something that’s deserved, fun, and special—maybe even a new car. According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, “For many taxpayers, their income tax refund is the single largest cash infusion they receive all year.” Refund money is an essential part of the annual personal funding for millions of Americans and should be included in their financial planning and budget.

It’s important to be aware that many different factors can affect the timing of a refund after the IRS receives a personal tax return. While the IRS has stated that it issues most refunds in less than 21 days for electronically filed returns, the federal government agency also cautions taxpayers not to rely on receiving a 2022 federal tax refund by a certain date and not to rely on that date when making large purchases or paying essential bills. Depending on a filer’s personal tax situation, tax returns can be complex and therefore subject to a range of mistakes when being completed. Consequently, some returns may require additional IRS review and may take longer than usual to process if IRS systems detect a possible error, if the return is missing information, or if there is suspected identity theft or fraud.

However a refund will be used, some people can get concerned waiting for their money to arrive via a check or directly into a checking or savings account. If refund timing is problematic, then it is possible for taxpayers to research and determine the status of their funds. A U.S. government tax refund can be tracked online, through phone calls or with software, depending on how taxes were filed and a taxpayer’s personal preference for how they like to get information. Following are several different methods for checking that a tax return has been filed with and received by the U.S. government’s Internal Revenue Service and for determining the status of an anticipated refund.

First, determine if your tax return was received by the U.S. government, then check your refund status

Personal tax fillings are generally provided to the federal government via a limited number of methods. A taxpayer can file a U.S. government tax return by U.S. Postal Service (USPS) mail, through an e-filing website (usually for a fee, or in some cases, at no cost), with paid tax or financial software, or by using the services of a tax preparer that may submit the return for them. The tax filing deadline for 2022 is Tuesday, April 18, 2023.

Whether you owe and are paying taxes, or you’re looking forward to a refund, you can find out the details of your tax return’s status from the IRS by:

  • Using mail tracking services if you file your taxes by U.S. mail, and you can then track your tax return and get a confirmation when the IRS has received it. To confirm IRS receipt of your mailed tax return, it is necessary for taxpayers to either use USPS Certified Mail or another mail service that has tracking or delivery confirmation services. These services only provide confirmation that the government has gotten the tax return; they do not provide information on a refund.
  • Using the IRS Where's My Refund tool to check your filing status and refund online. Online government tools or apps are the fastest and easiest way to track your refund. The record systems are updated approximately every 24 hours.
  • Checking online with the IRS2Go mobile phone app for current return and refund information.
  • Signing in and viewing your IRS account information online for quick refund information.
  • Calling the IRS at 1-800-829-1040, but keep in mind that wait times to speak to an IRS representative could be long.
  • Using the IRS automated phone system by calling 1-800-829-1954 and then following the message prompts. The automated system may help to avoid the wait for an IRS phone representative.
  • Looking for emails, text messages or other electronic filing status updates from your e-filing website or software.

As mentioned above, according to the IRS, federal tax refunds are generally issued within 21 days of when a taxpayer electronically files their tax return, or 42 days of when they filed paper returns. If it’s been longer than those time periods and the refund has not been received, taxpayers may contact the IRS Taxpayer Advocate Service to ask why their refund may be delayed—or why it may not be the amount they expected.

Stay on track with tax-free advice from Delta Community

For more helpful—and tax-free—financial information and advice, check out the free Delta Community Financial Education Center webinars on a range of tax- and money-related topics. You can visit the Financial Education Center's Events & Seminars page to register for its no-cost, on-demand webinars. The Credit Union's blog has a lot more information that could be educational and helpful: