How to Track a Federal Tax Return

by Kate Bluest, Demand Media
    Get your refund fast by filing your taxes online.

    Get your refund fast by filing your taxes online.

    You have one less thing to worry about when you know the Internal Revenue Service status of your federal tax return. Checking the status of your tax return will tell you if the IRS has received your return or has a problem with it. The IRS will also tell you the mail date or direct deposit date for your refund if the information is available. You can check your tax return status 72 hours after filing your taxes online or four weeks after mailing in your tax return.

    Items you will need

    • Copy of completed federal tax return

    Online

    Step 1

    Go to the Internal Revenue Service website.

    Step 2

    Click the “Refunds” tab in the top menu to go to the “Refunds” page.

    Step 3

    Click the “refund status at...” under “3. How...” to go to the “Where's My Refund?” page. The “Where's My Refund?” page is for people who filed taxes using Form 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ.

    Step 4

    Click the “OK” button on the pop-up warning box to reveal the “Get Refund Status” tab of the “Where's My Refund?” page.

    Step 5

    Enter your Social Security number on the “Get Refund Status” tab. If you filed a joint tax return, use either spouse's Social Security number.

    Step 6

    Enter the “Filing Status” you used on your tax return on the “Get Refund Status” tab. Options available are single, married-filing joint return, married-filing separate return, head of household or qualifying widower. This information is in the upper-right corner of your tax form.

    Step 7

    Enter the “Refund Amount” you recorded on your tax return on the “Get Refund Status” tab. The location of this information on the tax return varies, but the information is labeled “Refund” on the left side of the page and is above and close to the tax return signature line.

    Step 8

    Click the “Submit” button on the “Get Refund Status” tab to see the status of your tax return.

    By Phone

    Step 1

    Track your tax refund by phone by calling the IRS Refund Hotline at 800-829-1954 or the Tele Tax System at 800-829-4477.

    Step 2

    Track an amended tax return filed on Form 1040X by calling 800-829-1040. The IRS takes from eight to twelve weeks to process amended tax returns so they recommend you wait eight weeks before checking the status of an amended return.

    Step 3

    Track a tax return where you do not expect a refund by calling 800-829-1040.

    Tip

    • Refund dates may change. A refund date change does not mean there is a problem with your taxes.

    About the Author

    Based in New York, Kate Bluest has been writing for various online publications since 2005. She has participated in several writing workshops, including the MIT Writing Workshop. Bluest holds a Bachelor of Science in business administration from SUNY Empire State College.

    Photo Credits

    • Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images