IRS Tax Refund Schedule

Where’s my tax refund, and how long will it take?

Update: The IRS has delayed accepting returns due to the 2013 government shutdown. The IRS announced that it could begin the filing season as early as January 31. The IRS does not anticipate any delays in refund processing once efile opens.  

Description: Where's My Refund?Underneath current IRS guidelines - if you have already finished your federal income tax return - or you complete your return any time before January 31 - you can expect your refund shortly after February 21.

Looking for the yearly refund chart? We sincerely apologize, but the IRS will not issue an official yearly refund schedule this year. In years past, the IRS published a Publication. 2043 which gave tax professionals target dates for refunds. Using that Pub. 2043, tax professionals could then estimate release dates for both direct deposited and mailed refunds based on when the return was electronically accepted by the IRS. Due to the delays with refunds last year, the IRS has issued a standard 21-day timeframe for refunds. This means if your return was accepted on January 31, 2014, you can expect your refund to be sent to your bank around February 21, 2014. Keep in mind; it may take 1-2 business days after the refund is sent from the IRS to your bank before the funds show up in your bank account.

While the IRS's published tax refund schedule was a general guideline, it was just that - a guideline, not a deadline. The IRS does not guarantee that refunds will be deposited or mailed on a specific date.

What happens after I file my tax return?

One of the best reasons to file your federal tax return online is to get your income tax refund faster. Convenient, right? Here's a breakdown of how return processing normally works from the moment you file with eSmart Tax:

  1. When you click the "Submit" button to efile your return, eSmart Tax immediately sends your return to the IRS for processing. We confirm that your return has been sent directly to the IRS in an e-mail.
  2. After you electronically file your tax return, the IRS usually determines whether your tax return is accepted within 1-2 days.
  3. Once accepted, your refund must go through IRS processing before the IRS sends the money to your bank. The IRS typically processes refunds on a weekly basis. This processing is what generally takes the most time.

Certain factors can delay processing and when the funds are sent to your bank. To better understand how IRS guidelines affect refunds, please visit our Where’s My Refund? page.

An Important Message About State Income Tax Refunds

State refund schedules vary from state-to-state. Filing your state tax return online will still save you time. When you prepare your state return with eSmart Tax, we'll point you to where you need to go to find specific information that pertains to where you live.

What do the different return stages mean in eSmart Tax? How does it affect my refund?

Your tax return must be accepted by the IRS before your refund will be processed. If you efiled your return, acceptance can take up to 72 hours. If you mailed in a paper copy of your return, it can take 3-4 weeks.

To check on the status of your e-filed return, please .

  • If your return status is "Submitted", it is still processing with the IRS. Please allow 72 hours for your return status to update.
  • If your return status is "Rejected", please make any necessary corrections and then resubmit your return. You must then wait for your return to be "Accepted" (up to 72 hours) before you can get information about your refund.
  • If your return status is "Accepted", you can check on the status of your refund here:

Description: Where's My Refund?  

To read more frequently asked questions about tax refunds, please click here.