How Long Will Your Tax Refund Really Take This Year?

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

If you were entitled to a refund last year — as the majority (around 80%) of taxpayers were — you may be anxiously awaiting tax time this year. Those who are anticipating a refund are more than likely beginning to calculate how much their refund will be, and also trying to determine when it will arrive.

Refunds go through three stages: Received, processed, and refunded (completed). You can use the IRS’s “Where’s my refund?” tool 24 hours after the IRS receives your e-filed return, and begin checking your refund’s status.

If you file electronically, and request that your refund be direct deposited into your account, you may receive it in as little as 6-8 days. This does not mean that you will necessarily receive your refund that quickly, though. The IRS reports that it “issues more than 9 out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days.”

So, you could receive yours in a week, two weeks, or in three weeks, and that would be within the standard time frame. But remember, some returns may run a little behind any given year (including this year), as new laws (like the ACA laws), staffing issues, and other factors can cause any operation to have hiccups here and there.

If you file electronically, and you do not receive your refund within the 21-day time period, you may want to contact the IRS and see what’s going on.

The chart below shows approximate dates by which you may receive your direct deposit payment of your tax refund (if you e-file). The first official date range begins on January 19, 2016.

Source: RefundSchedule.com

Source: RefundSchedule.com

Just wait it out

Now that tax service providers no longer have refund anticipation loans, which offered an advance on your refund for a fee (which ended up equating to near-payday loan level APR), options have been reduced for taxpayers. Most of them will just have to wait.

Of course, there are always other options — other short-term loans, credit cards (“I’ll pay this card off when my refund arrives”), borrowing from loved ones with the promise of returning the funds when they receive their refund, etc. — but it’s best to wait until the funds are in hand.

Are you ready to file? What are you going to do with your check? Tell us on Facebook @ Money & Career Cheat Sheet.

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