There’s no longer a Federal Tax Refund Calendar for checking the status of your IRS refund. Now, taxpayers who want to know the status of an IRS refund must log in with the IRS website and receive an answer that’s drawn from the IRS database system, just for them. It’s more accurate and you’ll end up receiving more information in the long run.
But for a general all-purpose Federal Tax Refund Calendar and to see a timeline, here’s what we’ve got.
Federal Tax Refund Calendar
December 31 The End of the Tax Year
January 1 Usually you can start filing your federal income tax return by now
January 21 The earliest that your IRS refund would be ready, on average
January 31 W2 statements are due from employers to employees
January 31 1099-INT due recipients
January 31 1099-MISC due to contractors
February 18 1099-MISC due if there are amounts in boxes 8 or 14
As you can see, some documents you’ll need in order to prepare your income taxes are not even due to you until the end of January. So even if you are able to file your taxes on January 1, you should wait until you get your W2 and 1099 statements, if applicable.
1099-MISC is for when you did work as a contractor and not as a regular employee somewhere. 1099-INT is for income you earned from the interest on your savings account. W2s is the wage report from your employer. The IRS gets a copy of all these things, the same copy you’ll get in the mail. If you don’t wait for these tax statements and use them to prepare your tax return, you may be filling in the wrong amounts since you’ll be guessing what’s on them. The IRS will notice any discrepancies and delay your IRS refund. So, you might as well wait for your tax documents to arrive in the mail before you try to file your federal income tax return.
Estimating Your Progress in the Federal Tax Refund Calendar
If you electronically submitted your tax return to the IRS, the average time between clicking that submit button and seeing the refund in your account is 21 days. That’s why, on the Federal Tax Refund Calendar timeline above, January 21 is listed as first possible day on average, that you could be receiving your refund.
If you mailed your return, it’s going to be at least a month before you can even think of receiving your IRS refund.
Even so, those times are average times for a refund. Anything can delay your IRS refund, so why not just use the IRS refund tracker here. It will give you information on your own personal refund, not a generic tax refund calendar that’s meant for everyone to use.