If you are eagerly awaiting a tax refund from the federal government, you probably want to know when you should expect your money to arrive. One way of getting a rough estimate is to consult an IRS tax refund calendar
An IRS tax refund calendar will help you determine when your refund will arrive based on the date you filed your IRS tax return. Generally speaking, the earlier you filled in your return, the earlier you will receive your money back. The one exception is if you have opted to file your taxes by mail and also receive a check by mail. In this situation, someone who has filed their taxes digitally and decided to receive their tax refund by direct deposit could easily get their money before you do, even if they filed it later.
In the past, the IRS published an official IRS tax refund calculator. This consisted of a column on the right, where taxpayers could look up the date they filed their tax return, a corresponding column in the middle where taxpayers could look up the date they can expect to receive a direct deposit, and a column on the right, where tax payers could look up the date they expect to receive a paper check in the mail if they selected that option when filing their tax return.
2011 was the last time the IRS published this document. However, many websites still publish an estimated IRS tax refund calendar, based on information gathered in the past. The IRS also publishes a calendar of their process, production and posting cycle. This can be difficult to decipher, particularly if you aren’t massively financially literate, but this information has already been taken into account when compiling unofficial estimated IRS tax refund calendars.
Of course the IRS is a huge, unpredictable machine, and any kind of unofficial document that tries to anticipate the moments of the IRS can never be 100% accurate in every case. In fact, even some official IRS documents aren’t 100% accurate in every case. This is inherent to the nature of tax administration, especially in such a large country.
Despite the fact they aren’t infallible, the best way to get the most accurate information on when you should expect your tax return is to go directly to the source. The IRS hosts a web-based tool called “Where’s My Tax Refund?” that allows taxpayers to investigate the status of their refund. After the refund is approved, the tool will give an exact date that the taxpayer will receive their money. You can’t get any more accurate than that. Of course this tool only works after you have submitted a tax return, and only gives exact information fairly late in the process. Still, it can be incredibly useful.
The blanket IRS rule is that taxpayers who e-file their tax return and opt for direct deposit payment will receive their tax refund no later than 21 days after they file. If you’re in any doubt, refer to official IRS guidance.