Below is the latest table showing estimated 2016–2017 tax season refund payment dates based on past refund cycles and IRS guidelines. It shows the date your refund will be processed and paid based on the week your return is accepted by the IRS. 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 23rd is when the IRS E-file system will start processing electronic and paper tax returns. Even if you submitted before this date, don’t expect refund processing and payments to take place beforehand.
EITC and ACTC Related Tax Refund Delays: As in previous tax seasons a number of tax payers will see refund processing delays. The IRS has already announced that it will have to hold/delay refund payments for people claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) due to additional anti-fraud safeguards/reviews under newly enacted laws (PATH Act). While the IRS will continue to accept returns claiming EITC and ACTC the new law requires the IRS to hold refunds on tax returns claiming these popular credits, even if you have claimed it successfully in past years, until Feb. 15th 2017. Refund payments will subsequently be delayed up to the week of Feb 27th, 2017 (assuming all other items are in order). Also note that the IRS is required to hold the entire refund — even the portion not associated with the EITC and ACTC. You will see the PATH message in the IRS WMR tool when your return is being held due to PATH mandates.
** February PATH Processing Update – The IRS is now processing refunds which were originally being held up due to PATH mandates. They have however stressed that taxpayers should not expect refunds to be available in bank accounts or on debit cards until the week of Feb. 27 (exact dates will be shown in WMR as your tax return us processed). You should no longer be seeing the PATH message as a blocker to get your refund processed and paid. If held up for other reasons (see below) you will get the applicable message/follow-up action.
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.
For those impacted by tax refund delays (and it will be a lot this year) make sure you also scroll through some of the ~7000 comments below this article from current and prior years for further ideas/support, including some useful tips and tricks to find out your refund status if you are not getting much insight from the IRS WMR tool. So hang in there if you are dealing with extended delays for getting for your federal tax refund. You are not alone.
2016-2017 Tax Season IRS Refund Schedule
|IRS Accepts Return After|
(WMR status = Return Received)
|IRS Return Accepted Before (End Date)||Estimated Refund Due Date (via Direct Deposit)||Estimated Refund Due Date (via Paper Check)|
|January 23, 2017||January 27, 2017||February 3, 2017||February 6, 2017|
|January 27, 2017||February 3, 2017||February 10, 2017||February 13, 2017|
|February 3, 2017||February 10, 2017||February 17, 2017||February 20, 2017|
|February 10, 2017||February 15, 2017||February 24, 2017||February 27, 2017|
|February 15, 2017||February 24, 2017||March 3, 2017||March 6, 2017|
|February 24, 2017||March 3, 2017||March 10, 2017||March 13, 2017|
|March 3, 2017||March 10, 2017||March 17, 2017||March 20, 2017|
|March 10, 2017||March 17, 2017||March 24, 2017||March 27, 2017|
|March 17, 2017||March 24, 2017||April 1, 2017||April 3, 2017|
|March 24, 2017||March 31, 2017||April 9, 2017||April 13, 2017|
|March 31, 2017||April 7, 2017||April 18, 2017||April 20, 2017|
|April 7, 2017||April 14, 2017||April 25, 2017||April 27, 2017|
|April 14, 2017||April 21, 2017||May 2, 2017||May 4, 2017|
|April 21, 2017||April 28, 2017||May 9, 2017||May 11, 2017|
|April 28, 2017||May 5, 2017||May 16, 2017||May 18, 2017|
|May 5, 2017||May 12, 2017||May 23, 2017||May 25, 2017|
|May 12, 2017||May 19, 2017||May 30, 2017||June 1, 2017|
|May 19, 2017||May 26, 2017||June 6, 2017||June 8, 2017|
|May 26, 2017||June 2, 2017||June 13, 2017||June 15, 2017|
|June 2, 2017||June 9, 2017||June 20, 2017||June 22, 2017|
|June 9, 2017||June 16, 2017||June 27, 2017||June 29, 2017|
|June 16, 2017||June 23, 2017||July 5, 2017||July 7, 2017|
|June 23, 2017||June 30, 2017||July 11, 2017||July 13, 2017|
|June 30, 2017||July 7, 2017||July 18, 2017||July 20, 2017|
|July 7, 2017||July 14, 2017||July 25, 2017||July 27, 2017|
|July 14, 2017||July 21, 2017||August 1, 2017||August 3, 2017|
|July 21, 2017||July 28, 2017||August 8, 2017||August 10, 2017|
|July 28, 2017||August 4, 2017||August 15, 2017||August 17, 2017|
|August 4, 2017||August 11, 2017||August 22, 2017||August 24, 2017|
|August 11, 2017||August 18, 2017||August 29, 2017||August 31, 2017|
|August 18, 2017||August 25, 2017||September 5, 2017||September 7, 2017|
|August 25, 2017||September 1, 2017||September 12, 2017||September 14, 2017|
|September 1, 2017||September 8, 2017||September 19, 2017||September 21, 2017|
|September 8, 2017||September 15, 2017||September 26, 2017||September 28, 2017|
|September 15, 2017||September 22, 2017||October 3, 2017||October 5, 2017|
|September 22, 2017||September 29, 2017||October 10, 2017||October 12, 2017|
|September 29, 2017||October 6, 2017||October 17, 2017||October 19, 2017|
|October 6, 2017||October 13, 2017||October 24, 2017||October 26, 2017|
|October 13, 2017||October 20, 2017||October 31, 2017||November 2, 2017|
|October 20, 2017||October 27, 2017||November 7, 2017||November 9, 2017|
|October 27, 2017||November 3, 2017||November 14, 2017||November 16, 2017|
|November 3, 2017||November 10, 2017||November 21, 2017||November 23, 2017|
|November 10, 2017||November 17, 2017||November 28, 2017||November 30, 2017|
|November 17, 2017||November 24, 2017||December 5, 2017||December 7, 2017|
|November 24, 2017||December 1, 2017||December 12, 2017||December 14, 2017|
|December 1, 2017||December 8, 2017||December 19, 2017||December 21, 2017|
|December 8, 2017||December 15, 2017||December 26, 2017||December 28, 2017|
|December 15, 2017||December 22, 2017||January 2, 2018||January 4, 2018|
|December 22, 2017||December 29, 2017||January 9, 2018||January 11, 2018|
|December 29, 2017||January 5, 2018||January 16, 2018||January 18, 2018|
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. If your refund is taking much longer than the above schedule, and assuming your return was accepted by the IRS, please leave a comment below for the benefit of other readers. I can try digging into the reasons if a few people are seeing delays.
Help! My WMR status bar has disappeared – Does this mean by return is still being processed and/or will my refund be delayed?
As many folks have commented, the WMR tracker status bar may disappear or not be shown if your return falls under IRS review after it is received (Status Bar 1: Return Received) because additional information is needed for your return. This can happen even if you previously checked WMR and it showed the status as “Return Received.” An explanation or instructions will be provided depending on the situation (eg PATH message or see Tax Topic 152 as discussed below)
But don’t panic when this happens. The IRS still has your return but things are essentially on hold until the IRS gets the additional information from you to continue processing your return . You will either get directions on WMR or IRS2Go or the IRS will contact you by mail. Follow the provided instructions and return any additional information ASAP to get your potential refund and reduce any further delays. Talk to your accountant, tax advocate or tax professional if you are not clear on what the IRS is asking for or you don’t get an update after 21 days.
WMR Path, Tax Topic 152 and 151 message
Two of the most common refund related messages showing up on the WMR tool after your tax return is submitted are the PATH message and to Refer to Tax Topic 152. The PATH message relates to the The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act (PATH Act of 2015) and is to notify you that the IRS is required to hold refunds claiming the EITC/ACTC until Feb. 15 as described above due to further identity verification.
When you see the “Refer to Tax Topic 152” message it means your refund is being processed and the IRS is directing you its generic refund page for more information. There is not much you can do but wait to see if the IRS finds any issues or requires further verification of your identity or items in your tax return. See the various reader comments below on timing and their experience after getting this and other WMR messages.
A Tax Topic 151 message simply means that you’re getting a tax offset which may result in your refund being less than you expected. The reason for this is that the federal government has “offset” or deducted monies from your tax refund to cover debts you owe other federal agencies. You will get an official IRS letter/report explaining the actual offset and adjustments to your tax return, and details on how to appeal this action – but likely it will delay you getting your refund. While not great news, the silver lining here is that the IRS has processed your return and your adjusted refund (where applicable) should be on its way.
If I can order my IRS tax transcript does it mean I am getting my refund soon?
This question comes up a lot and I have seen a few comments on this suggesting that that if you can order your transcript then your refund is on the way. But this is not a factual statement. Yes there is a correlation because to get a transcript the IRS generally has to have processed your tax return (and refund where applicable). But the IRS is very clear that being able to request a transcript does not mean you will imminently be getting a refund and is among the common myths and misconceptions repeated in social media. The IRS’ official line is that checking the WMR tool is the best and official way to check your refund status.
However I have read a number of comments here and on other tax sites saying that when the WMR site provides limited information on the refund, requesting a free IRS transcript seems to be another way of checking the status of the refund. Generally if you can request a transcript, it means the refund is on the way and the IRS has completed processing of your tax return. But this is all anecdotal evidence.
A note about IRS system issues and refund delays
It appears that the IRS is again having issues with processing returns in a timely manner and so a number of people are seeing delays in getting their refunds or updates in the status of their refund on the WMR tool/app. The IRS has said that all 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 system problems arise again this year, which mean delays in processing and paying refunds.
2016-2017 Tax Season – 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.
I will continue to update this article and encourage you to check back regularly. If the information here was useful please consider sharing this page via Facebook, Twitter or your other social media channels.