When Do You Know for Sure the IRS Is Giving You Your Refund?

Most refunds are processed within three weeks.

Most refunds are processed within three weeks.

You can track the status of your tax return using the Internal Revenue Service's "Where's My Refund?" website. When the status of your return changes to "Refund Approved," that means the IRS is preparing to cut you a check or directly deposit the money into your bank account. "Refund Sent" means the money is on its way.

Refund Approval Timeframe

According to the IRS, most refunds are issued within 21 days of receiving your return. However, just because you've gotten your refund doesn't mean you're free and clear. The IRS could still go back and audit your return for up to three years. It can go back even longer if you inadvertently omit more than 25 percent of your income on your return. Always double-check your return to ensure it is correct before filing it.

About the Author

Mark Kennan is a writer based in the Kansas City area, specializing in personal finance and business topics. He has been writing since 2009 and has been published by "Quicken," "TurboTax," and "The Motley Fool."

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