How Long To Get An E-File Refund?


If you’re like most people, filling out your tax forms is a chore that you would rather not do. Fortunately, there is a reward if you’ve paid too much to the IRS in the last year as you will receive a refund. Statistics by TurboTax indicate that the average amount refunded last year during tax season was $3000. That is a nice chunk of money that can be used for paying off bills, making a new purchase or investing in an asset. If you electronically filed your taxes and you are wondering when your refund will arrive, there are some ways to determine that date.

Understanding The Refund Process

If you are like some individuals, your refund check is one of the larger amounts of funds that you will receive this year. The IRS works as fast as possible to process your tax forms and send you back money that is owed to you. The process begins when you click on the Electronic Filing option.

When you send your information to the IRS via the e-file button, it gets processed in three separate stages. The first stage let you know that your return is received. The second stage approves the return and the final stage informs you that your refund has been sent. The refund processing time is significantly different if you file electronically or mail your paper return:

Mailing In Your Return – Your refund will be processed in a time period that’s between 6 to 8 weeks when you mail in your tax returns to the IRS. The clock starts when the IRS receives your forms and schedules.

Electronically Filing Returns – The quickest way for you to receive your return from the IRS is by electronically filing your tax forms and making a request that your refund be sent via direct deposit.

How Long Does The Refund Process Take?

Stage 1 – If you electronically file your tax return, you can use the “Where’s My Refund” page at to begin checking the status of your e-file. You probably want to wait 24 to 48 hours before you check on the status.

Stage 2 – At some point after 24 to 48 hours, the Where’s My Refund indicator tool will inform you that the process is at the “Return Received” stage. The IRS has started the process of going through your tax return and processing each form and schedule. At this point, they will not give you a refund date as the time that it takes to completely process your tax form is unknown.

Stage 3 – You will receive a “Refund Approved” confirmation from the Where’s My Refund tool when the IRS has completed processing your tax return and approved the dollar amount of your tax refund. You should be patient between the second stage and third stage as it may take 2 to 10 days to process your tax forms. In fact, it may take even longer if your financial profile requires you to include a number of different forms and schedules or during peak times when the IRS is processing a large number of returns.

Date Of Refund

After your tax forms and refund approval have been completed, the IRS will indicate a refund date for you. Typically, 90 percent of refunds are issued within three weeks from the initial date of acceptance when you choose to electronically file your taxes and receive your refund via direct deposit. You will receive a “Refund Sent” confirmation when the IRS initiates the refund transaction. However, it may take a few days for this to appear at your financial institution. In contrast, if you decided to mail your return to the IRS via the United States Postal Service, you’ll want to wait four weeks before checking on the status of your refund.