Marcus Lawrence | 

How Long Does It Take to Get a Tax Refund?

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There was a commercial during the Super Bowl trying to compare tax season to the holiday season. Sorry, I ain’t buying it. Although tax season isn’t the most wonderful time of the year, it can be a little better when you know when to expect your 2022 tax refund.

In 2023 you’re filing your 2022 taxes — sometimes the dates can be confusing — but we’ll help explain the 2022 tax return schedule, when to expect your refund, and what to do if you don’t receive it.

OK, deep breath. Let’s get you paid.


To get your tax refund the fastest, file as soon as possible.

person looking at irs free tax filing webpage on computer

This may seem like a no-brainer, but hear me out. As soon as the IRS opens up for receiving tax returns — for 2022 filings that was on Jan. 28, 2023 — you should jump on it. Not only will you get your return back earlier in the calendar, but the IRS typically processes tax returns in the order they’re received.

You’ll be filing before the vast majority of taxpayers, making it likely that you’ll receive your return at the lower end of the 21-day window.


You’ll get your tax refund within 21 days if you file electronically (but up to six weeks if you mail your return).

IRS tax refund mail

The time it takes to receive a tax refund can vary depending on how you filed your taxes and how you requested your refund. If you file your taxes electronically (via free e-file or online tax prep services like TurboTax) and choose to have your refund deposited directly into your bank account, you can expect to receive your refund within 21 days of the date that the IRS accepts your return.

If you file a paper return, expect it to take up to six weeks to get your refund. And the time could be even longer if you request a paper check or if there are errors or other issues with your return.

RELATED: TurboTax Has to Pay Millions of People: Are You One of Them?



Use the ‘Where’s My Refund?’ tool to track the status of your return.

The “Where’s My Refund” tool is a nifty feature on the IRS website that lets you track the status of your tax refund. To use it, you just need to give some basic information about your tax return, like your Social Security number, filing status, and the amount of your expected refund.

Once you’ve entered your info, the tool gives you a personalized update on your refund status, including the date your refund was received and processed, approved, and sent. If there are any delays or issues, the tool provides more info on how to resolve the problem.

One thing to keep in mind is that the tool is updated once a day, usually overnight. So if you’re anxious to find out about your refund, it’s best to check it daily to get the most current info. If you filed electronically, you can usually start checking the status of your refund within 24 hours of filing. But if you filed a paper return, you’ll need to wait at least four weeks before checking your refund status.

Note: If there are any issues or errors or discrepancies with your tax return, the “Where’s My Refund?” tool may tell you that your return requires further review and that you should expect to receive a letter from the IRS with more details on what to do next.


The fastest way to get paid is to get a tax refund advance — but don’t do it. They’re risky and expensive.

Almost all of the major tax filing companies, such as Jackson Hewitt, H&R Block, and TurboTax, offer their own version of a refund anticipation loan or early tax refund advance each year. These loans are marketed as a way to get your tax refund sooner, but they often come with hidden fees and high-interest rates, which can make them very expensive.

Additionally, if your tax refund ends up being delayed or reduced for any reason, you could end up owing more money than you anticipated, which can be a big problem. To avoid unnecessary fees and the risk of owing more money than you anticipated, it’s best to wait for your tax refund to come in without getting an advance.

But if instant gratification is your thing, check out all the Tax Day freebies and deals.


File your taxes before March — but definitely before April 15.

A person sitting down, holding up an iPad displaying the TurboTax completecheck screen showing that the user's tax forms are ready to be filed.

Peak tax season begins in March and runs right up until the April 15 deadline each year. That means tax preparation services, IRS phone lines, and the people who can authorize your tax return are very busy.

The earlier you file the better because again, the IRS processes filings on a first-come, first-served basis — making the turnaround time on your tax return longer during peak tax season.

It’s even worse if you file late (after the April 15 deadline) because not only are you at the end of the line, but you could be assessed penalties that’d take away from your expected tax return. Instead file an extension — it’ll delay the amount of time it takes to get your refund, but at least you’ll still get the full amount owed to you.

Note: Because April 15 falls on a Saturday in 2023, the actual tax filing deadline will be Tuesday, April 18, 2023 — but don’t wait that long!


Got more questions about your tax refund? Contact the IRS.

To contact the IRS, there are a few different options available:

  • Phone: You can call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 to speak with a representative. The phone lines are open Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. local time.
  • In person: You can also make an appointment to visit a local IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center. To find the nearest location and schedule an appointment, you can use the “Contact Your Local IRS Office” tool on the IRS website.
  • Online: If you prefer to communicate with the IRS online, you can visit the IRS website and use the “Contact Your Local IRS Office” tool to send a secure message to the IRS. You can also use the “Get Transcript” tool on the IRS website to get a copy of your tax return or other tax records.

No matter which method you choose, it’s important to have all of the relevant information about your tax return and any issues or questions you have when you contact the IRS. This can help make sure that you get the help you need as quickly and efficiently as possible.



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