The Internal Revenue Service continues to add functionality to its online tools, now putting more muscle behind its Where’s My Refund? feature. Used more than 776 million times in 2021, it is one of the agency's most popular online offerings—and it can reduce client questions about refund status.
"Previously, Where's My Refund? only displayed the status of the most recently filed tax return within the past two tax years," the IRS explains. Now, users can view information for any of the last three tax years on their status report.
While this additional information will undoubtedly be more convenient for taxpayers with Internet access, it also marks a reduction in phone service that available to callers. The agency notes that those who call the refund hotline will only receive information related to their 2021 return.
Punctuating this shift, the IRS says, "There's no need to call the IRS to check on refund status unless it has been more than 21 days since the return was filed or the tool says the IRS can provide more information."
How do taxpayers access Where's My Refund?
Where’s My Refund? is accessed through IRS.gov or IRS2Go, the agency’s mobile app. The identification verification process requires their Social Security Number or ITIN, filing status for the requested tax year, and amount of the refund they’re checking on, using the original filed return.
The IRS says validated online users of Where’s My Refund? can get the status of a refund within:
- 24 hours after e-filing a tax year 2021 return
- Three or four days after e-filing a tax year 2019 or 2020 return
- Four weeks after mailing a return
For details on a taxpayer’s adjusted gross income, a balance due, or other account information, taxpayers should check their Online Account.
Speeding up 2021 returns
IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig says the upgrade to Where’s My Refund? can help speed up the processing of TY 2021 returns—especially for taxpayers who chose to request an extension of time to file.
"We encourage those who expect a refund, but requested an extension, to file as soon as they're ready. We process returns on a first-in basis, so the sooner the better," said Rettig. "There's really no reason to wait until October 17 if filers have the relevant information to file now.”
Rettig reminds that electronic filing is available 24 hour per day and his agency is actively taking in returns, processing and issuing refunds.
More improvements to come
If taxpayers are happy with this latest round of upgrades, Rettig said, more improvements are in the works.
"The IRS is committed to identifying opportunities to make improvements in real time for taxpayers and the tax professional community," said Rettig. "This enhancement to Where's My Refund? is just one of many."