Ways to Check on Your Tax Refund
Filling out your federal tax return may be a headache -- but, luckily, checking the status of your refund is easy. The IRS gives taxpayers two ways to find out when they'll get their money: its Web site and a free smart phone app.
You can use the Where's My Refund? tool at IRS.gov to check the status of your refund 24 hours after you e-file your return or four weeks after you mail your return (you're still using paper?) You'll need to enter your Social Security number, filing status and refund amount as shown on your tax return.
This year, the tool has a tracker that displays progress through 3 stages: (1) Return Received, (2) Refund Approved and (3) Refund Sent.
The Where's My Refund function is also built into the IRS's app, called IRS2Go, available for Apple and Android platforms. The app also includes other options to get additional personal tax information -- and updates on tax law changes and IRS programs.
Both options provide an estimated date that the IRS will issue your refund -- not the date that you'll receive it. How fast will the IRS turn it around? Last year they issued more than 9 out of 10 refunds to taxpayers in less than 21 days last year, and expects the same in 2013.
When you receive your refund, consider these 10 smart uses for the money. Then consider adjusting your tax withholding so that you get the money when you earn it. Sure, it feels great to get a fat check you can use to pay down debt, fund a vacation or add to a retirement account. But it also means you're handing over too much money to Uncle Sam – money you could use each month to pay bills, buy groceries, invest in stocks or whatever. Use our Tax Withholding Calculator to see how much you can add to your paycheck by adjusting your withholding.