Miss Getting Stimulus Checks? You May Have an Even Bigger Payday Coming Your Way

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Talk about good news.

Key points

  • The last stimulus check that went out was worth up to $1,400.
  • The average tax refund so far this season is more than twice that amount.

For months now, Americans have been wondering whether another stimulus check will end up hitting their bank accounts. It's a valid question, seeing as how living costs have been soaring due to recent inflation. 

So let's get the bad news out of the way -- there's no talk of a fourth stimulus check. Sorry. 

For a stimulus to be warranted, economic conditions would need to take a serious turn for the worse. But right now, the economy is strong and jobs are plentiful, which doesn't set the stage for a widespread round of relief.

The good news, though, is that you may have a tax refund coming your way. And if yours is like the average recipient's, it may be far more generous than the last stimulus check that went out.

Are you in line for a giant windfall?

As of early April, the average tax refund came to $3,175, which is more than twice the amount of the last stimulus check, which maxed out at $1,400. Now the reality is that you might have a smaller refund coming your way. Or, you may have a larger one. But either way, that cash could take the place of the stimulus you won't be getting.

When will your refund come in?

If you waited until the April 18 filing deadline to submit your 2021 taxes, you may not see your refund until sometime during the first half of May -- and that assumes you filed your taxes electronically. The IRS typically issues refunds for electronically filed returns within three weeks of receipt, and if you signed up for direct deposit of your refund, you may get your money a bit sooner.

That said, the IRS was very backlogged going into this year's tax-filing season. And so it may be slower than usual to process refunds. 

Plus, if you filed your taxes on paper, expect it to take a minimum of six weeks to receive your refund. It may even take longer this year due to the IRS being overwhelmed and understaffed (though the agency is hiring new workers in an effort to catch up).

If you're really eager to get more specific information on your tax refund, the IRS has a special tool you can use. If you filed your tax return on time and did so electronically, at this point, that tool should have your refund information available. You'll need to input your Social Security number, tax-filing status, and exact refund amount to get an update. 

If you filed a paper return, it will unfortunately take a lot longer for that tool to update. You'll generally need to wait four weeks before you can access information on your refund and find out more about when to expect your money.

What if your tax refund is held up?

If there's an issue with your tax return, the IRS will likely withhold your refund until it's resolved. Generally, you'll receive a letter in the mail along those lines. But if you don't receive your refund after 21 days and you filed your return electronically, you may want to call the agency directly at 800-829-1040 and find out more.

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