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Here's how to track the status of your 2024 tax refund

Best way to use your tax refund in 2024
Best way to use your tax refund in 2024 04:21

More than 30 million Americans waited until the last two weeks of the tax-filing season to send their returns to the IRS. Many of them may now be wondering how long it will take for their refunds to hit their bank accounts. 

It's not a small financial issue, as tax refunds often represent many households' largest check throughout the year, helping families pay down debt, build up emergency savings or even splurge on purchases. The average 2024 tax refund is 3.8% higher than a year ago, at $2,948, according to the latest IRS data.

Luckily, there are a few easy ways to track the status of your refund, such as the IRS' "Where's my refund?" website or its IRS2Go mobile app, which can be used on mobile phones and other similar devices. For the current tax season, the IRS said it improved the tracking services by providing more detailed answers when people make their queries. 

"This is the largest windfall that many people get all year," Bankrate senior industry analyst Ted Rossman told CBS New York. "It's actually not a great practice to get a tax refund — it's actually better to adjust your withholding so you get your money in bits and pieces throughout the year."

But some people like getting a lump sum in their tax refund because it effectively works as a forced savings plan, providing them with one large check each year that they can then put into service, whether that's paying down debt or making a large purchase, Rossman noted. 

Here's how to track your refund. 

Check the IRS' "Where's My Refund?" website

The IRS says you can check the status of your refund through its "Where's My Refund?" page as soon as 24 hours after your return was filed electronically.

You'll need to provide the site with a few basic pieces of information:

  • The tax year you're checking
  • Your Social Security or individual taxpayer ID number (ITIN)
  • Your filing status
  • And the exact refund amount on your return

The IRS also said it updated the service to provide more information to taxpayers, such as alerting them if the agency needs them to respond to a letter requesting more data.

Look at the IRS2Go app on your phone

The IRS also has a mobile app called IRS2Go that works similarly to the "Where's My Refund?" website. The app, which you can download the app on any iOS or Android device, asks for several pieces of information to pull up your refund data:

  • The tax year you're checking
  • Your Social Security number or ITIN
  • Your filing status
  • And your exact refund amount

Call the IRS for an update

The IRS operates a phone line for refund data, although it says it's aimed at people who don't have internet access.

If that's your situation, you can call the refund hotline at 800-829-1954 to check on the current year's tax refund. To check on an amended return for prior years, call 866-464-2050.

Can I see when my tax refund will hit my bank account?

Yes, but only when the IRS is closer to sending the check. The app tracks three stages:

  • First, the apps will show you that your return has been received by the IRS, which means the agency is processing the form. 
  • Secondly, the apps will tell you when the IRS approved the refund, and will provide a date when it expects to issue the check. 
  • Lastly, the services will alert you when the IRS sent the refund to your bank via direct deposit or when they mailed it. It can take up to 5 days for the refund to land in your bank account, while a paper check may require several weeks for delivery, the IRS says.
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