The answer to the simple question, "When will I receive my tax refund from the IRS?" used to be found in the agency's annual "Refund Cycle Chart." It was quite handy, listing when you could expect your check based on the date when your tax return was mailed or accepted. For example, a 2014 tax refund schedule might tell you that for returns received between April 1 and April 7, direct deposits will be made on April 18 and refund checks will be mailed on April 21. But alas -- there is no official 2014 tax refund schedule. It has been discontinued, but you're not out of luck. It has been replaced by the IRS' "Where's My Refund?" service, as well as an IRS2GO mobile app that also offers other tax-related information.
Most of your questions about the 2014 tax refund schedule will likely be answered here:
- The IRS aims to get you your refund within 21 days after it receives your return -- and it succeeds more than 90% of the time. Thus it recommends that you not call or visit an IRS office to ask about your refund until six weeks after you mail in your return or 21 days after you e-filed (i.e., submitted your return electronically).
- You can check the "Where's My Refund?" website or the app anytime. If you e-filed, you'll likely find information there within 24 hours. If you mailed in a paper return, it could be four weeks before there's news.
- You'll need to be ready to provide your Social Security number, your filing status (i.e., single, married filing jointly, head of household), and your exact refund amount. (Don't submit personal information such as your Social Security number over an unsecured Internet connection, though.)
- Requesting that your refund be direct-deposited can give you access to your money faster. It also can be more secure -- for example, avoiding the risk of someone stealing the check before it gets to you.
- E-filing can make the biggest difference, speeding up your refund significantly.
- The "Where's My Refund?" service can let you track your refund's progress through three stages: the arrival of your return, the approval of the refund, and the sending of the refund. It can even give you an expected refund date.
You may be disappointed to learn that there's no 2014 tax refund schedule, but the IRS is actually now giving you more information -- and more precise information -- about your particular return.
Selena Maranjian, whom you can follow on Twitter, has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.