How to Determine if a Tax Return Has Been Cashed

No need to check the mail when you can check online or by phone.

No need to check the mail when you can check online or by phone.

Waiting for your refund after filing a tax return is a little like waiting for a check from a beneficent relative. Though in fact you worked for the money and loaned it to the U.S. government for up to a year, it seems like money that fell from the sky. Consequently, it can be hard to resist checking up on the status of your refund. The Internal Revenue Service website makes it easy to do just that.

Check the calendar. Wait 72 hours after the IRS has accepted your e-filed return or four weeks after you have mailed your paper return.

Find the exact refund amount from your return. You'll need this figure to check the status.

Gather your identifying information. You'll need your Social Security number and your tax-filing status.

Visit the "Where's My Refund?" page at the IRS website and enter the requested information. You'll be able to get information on the status of your refund whether you e-filed, filed on paper, requested direct deposit or asked for a check by mail.

Check your status on the resulting page. Possible messages range from a simple acknowledgment of receipt to the date of the direct deposit or mailing of the refund.


  • You can also check the status of your refund by calling the IRS Refund Hotline or the TeleTax System. You'll need the same identifying information to check by phone as to check online.
  • iPhone and Android users can download free of charge the IRS2Go application check their refund status.


  • If 28 days have passed since your refund check mail or direct deposit date and you have received nothing, you may be able to start tracing the lost refund via the IRS "Where's My Refund" page.

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About the Author

D. Laverne O'Neal, an Ivy League graduate, published her first article in 1997. A former theater, dance and music critic for such publications as the "Oakland Tribune" and Gannett Newspapers, she started her Web-writing career during the dot-com heyday. O'Neal also translates and edits French and Spanish. Her strongest interests are the performing arts, design, food, health, personal finance and personal growth.

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