While the IRS has officially discontinued releasing refund cycle charts, below are estimated 2015-2016 refund payment dates based on past refund cycles and IRS guidelines. For refund dates specific to your tax filing go to the Where is my Refund (WMR) page or IRS2Go mobile application. You will need information from your tax return to get your specific refund processing and payment dates.
Note that Jan 19th was the date that IRS E-file went live for 2016. This is when the IRS will start processing electronic and paper tax returns. Even if you submitted before this date, don’t expect refund processing to take place beforehand. That is why the table below starts from Jan 19th.
Update: It looks like a number of people who e-filed returns are now getting their refunds direct deposited. January and early February files who had their returns successfully accepted by the IRS should have received their direct deposit by now unless held for additional checks. I am also seeing that the IRS is requiring a number of tax filers to verify their identities due to the marked increase in identity theft and tax filing fraud this year. For those impacted, this is delaying refund processing from 2 to 9 weeks based on the level of verification needed. See the 5000+ comments below for further details, including some useful tips and tricks to find out your refund status if you are not getting much insight from the WMR tool. So hang in there if you are still waiting for your federal tax refund.
For those experiencing ongoing issues or delays with their refunds check out this article on “Why is it taking so long to get my refund.” The IRS has said that phone and walk-in representatives can research the status of your refund only if it’s been 21 days or more since you filed electronically, more than 6 weeks since you mailed your paper return or if the IRS tool Where’s My Refund? directs you to contact them. The WMR tool will also provide an actual refund date as soon as the IRS processes your tax return and approves your refund.
The table below is only for electronically filed returns (e-file) done thorough online tax software providers and assumes your tax return was in order. I.e accepted by the IRS via the WMR tool and status is equal to “Return Received”. Paper filed returns can take considerably longer and would add 1 to 2 weeks to the time frames below. Again, use the the tax refund chart below as a guideline and refer to the IRS WMR tool for specific timeframes related to your return. Also note that it could take much longer to get your refund if the IRS deems your tax return submission needs further reviews or your identity needs to be verified. This would add two to nine weeks to the date range of your refund delivery date.
|2016 Date Range when Filing Accepted by IRS (per WMR tool)||Direct Deposit Refund Sent (Estimate)||Paper Check Refund Mailed (Estimate)|
|Jan 19 to Jan 30||7-Feb||10-Feb|
|Jan 30 to Feb 06||12-Feb||14-Feb|
|Feb 07 to Feb 13||19-Feb||21-Feb|
|Feb 14 to Feb 20||26-Feb||28-Feb|
|Feb 21 to Feb 27||5-Mar||6-Mar|
|Feb 28 to Mar 05||12-Mar||14-Mar|
|Mar 06 to Mar 12||19-Mar||21-Mar|
|Mar 13 to Mar 19||26-Mar||28-Mar|
|Mar 20 to Mar 26||2-Apr||3-Apr|
|Mar 27 to Apr 02||9-Apr||11-Apr|
|Apr 03 to Apr 09||16-Apr||18-Apr|
|Apr 10 to Apr 17||23-Apr||25-Apr|
|Apr 18 to Apr 23||30-Apr||2-May|
|Apr 24 to Apr 30||6-May||8-May|
|May 01 to May 07||13-May||15-May|
|May 08 to May 14||20-May||22-May|
|May 15 to May 21||27-May||29-May|
|May 22 to May 29||3-Jun||5-Jun|
|May 30 to Jun 05||10-Jun||12-Jun|
|Jun 06 to Jun 12||17-Jun||19-Jun|
|Jun 13 to Jun 19||24-Jun||26-Jun|
|Jun 20 to Jun 26||1-Jul||3-Jul|
|Jun 27 to Jul 03||8-Jul||10-Jul|
|Jul 04 to Jul 10||15-Jul||17-Jul|
|Jul 11 to Jul 17||22-Jul||24-Jul|
|Jul 18 to Jul 24||29-Jul||31-Jul|
|Jul 25 to Jul 31||5-Aug||7-Aug|
|Aug 01 to Aug 07||12-Aug||14-Aug|
|Aug 08 to Aug 14||19-Aug||21-Aug|
|Aug 15 to Aug 21||26-Aug||28-Aug|
|Aug 22 to Aug 28||2-Sep||4-Sep|
|Aug 29 to Sep 04||9-Sep||11-Sep|
|Sep 05 to Sep 11||16-Sep||18-Sep|
|Sep 12 to Sep 18||23-Sep||25-Sep|
|Sep 19 to Sep 25||30-Sep||2-Oct|
|Sep 26 to Oct 02||7-Oct||9-Oct|
|Oct 03 to Oct 09||14-Oct||16-Oct|
|Oct 10 to Oct 16||21-Oct||23-Oct|
A note about IRS system issues and refund delays: It appears that the IRS is still having issues with processing returns in a timely manner and so a number of people are seeing delays in getting their refunds.The 3000+ comments below confirm this. Of late delays were due to widely reported IRS system issues which constrained the acceptance of new filings and refund processing was dramatically reduced. This was likely the cause behind the lack of movement and disappearing status bars on the WMR and IRS2Go tool. The IRS has said system issues have now been resolved but given the various legacy systems they have and volume of processing I would not be surprised to see continued system problems. The other big issue delaying refunds is the marked increase in tax filing related identity theft and phishing scams. Because of this refund processing is taking longer than expected as returns are more carefully checked and identities verified.
2015-2016 Amended Tax Return Refund Schedule
While the IRS promises to have regular return refunds processed within 21 days for nine out of ten tax payers, it does take quite a bit longer to receive a refund if you amended your tax return. Generally you will have to wait 8 to 12 weeks more for the IRS to process amended returns since they prioritize regular returns. Also note that the standard”Where’s my refund” service from the IRS does not track amended tax return status’. You need to instead use the IRS tool, Where’s My Amended Return.” You can also access the tool via phone by calling 1-866-464-2050. Only call the IRS to follow up on delayed amended return refunds after 12 weeks. The number to call is 1-800-829-1040.
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