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Where’s my Refund?

When can I file my tax return?

The first day the IRS officially starts approving your 2017 tax return is January 29, 2018. However, many tax software programs will allow you to complete your return and “file” it starting January 2, 2018. They will then hold the returns until the IRS begins accepting them.

When are taxes due?

You must file your taxes by April 17, 2018. (April 15 is the tax deadline for most years unless it falls on a weekend or an observed holiday. April 16, 2018, is the observed holiday for Emancipation Day, for Washington DC). You can file a tax extension if you are not ready to file your taxes by the deadline.

How long does it take to process a tax return?

How long it takes to process a return depends on many factors, including whether you e-file or file a paper return. As you might have guessed, e-filing results in a much quicker turnaround time. Paper returns have to be manually entered into the system and can remain in the queue for several days (or longer) before they can be processed. Of course, the complexity of your return also affects how long it takes to process your return.

How long does it take to receive my tax refund?

The IRS has a goal of getting tax refunds to taxpayers within 21 days. They reach this goal about 90% of the time. In fact, most people receive their refunds in about 10-14 days. In previous years, the IRS created a schedule for when they will send out federal tax refunds via direct deposit or by check. The general rule of thumb is that direct deposits will be sent out a few days before paper checks are sent out (the delay for a paper check can actually take up to one week, depending on how many refunds the IRS has to process).

Are there any expected tax refund delays?

Yes. The IRS is required to hold tax refunds for taxpayers who claim Earned Income Tax Credits and Additional Child Tax credit until at least Feb. 17, 2018. Keep in mind it can still take a week to receive the refund after the IRS releases it. So some people who file early may experience delays while awaiting their refund. Refunds should be processed normally after this date. Also note that new identity theft protection and anti-fraud measures may hold up some refunds, as some tax returns may be held for further review.

 




2018 IRS E-File Schedule for Direct Deposit and Check Refund Dates

In previous years, the IRS would publish a refund cycle chart showing when a particular tax return would be deposited into a taxpayers bank account if they elected Direct Deposit of their refund. This was true if the return was electronically filed and a refund was due to the taxpayer.  However, as a result of numerous fraud issues that have plagued the IRS community over the recent past, they have discontinued the use of this “Refund Cycle” chart and Publication 2043 has been revised.

Publication 2043 “IRS E-file Refund Cycle Chart” has been renamed “IRS Refund Information Guidelines for the Tax Preparation Community.” The new Publication 2043 is no longer a chart showing the refund cycle time frames. Instead, it provides guidance for taxpayers to check on their refunds. Taxpayers can also go on the IRS website and search “Where’s My Refund” to find information.

*RETURNS THAT CLAIM EARNED INCOME TAX CREDIT OR ADDITIONAL CHILD TAX CREDIT MUST BE HELD UNTIL FEB. 17, AND IRS ANTICIPATES REFUNDS WON’T BE DIRECT-DEPOSITED UNTIL THE WEEK OF FEB. 28.




Finally, note that the IRS is very clear that you shouldn’t plan your finances in anticipation of having your refund hit your bank account on any specific date. No tax schedule that you’ll see from any source can claim a guarantee of a date on which you’ll get your refund. Estimates like the ones above can be useful for your planning, but make sure you leave yourself some wiggle room in case your luck this tax season turns out to be bad.

when-to-expect-my-tax-refund

2018 Tax Filing Season Dates to Remember

The table below shows 2018 deadlines for filing 2017 tax returns and requesting extensions.

An important point to note is that while you can file your taxes anytime after the beginning of the year, the IRS will not process any returns (paper or electronic) until IRS e-File goes live. As always taxes are due by April 15th (or nearest business day if on a weekend, though requesting an extension until October should not be that difficult to obtain for most taxpayers. The IRS also reiterated that filing your taxes electronically is the most accurate way to file a tax return and the fastest way to get a refund.

2018 Tax Deadline Tax Related Activity
January 2, 2018 The first day to file a 2017 tax return, though the IRS generally will not accept e-file and free file returns until the date below. Even paper-based filings won’t be processed till later in the month
January 29, 2018 IRS E-file to go live, allowing submission of electronic tax returns for the vast majority of tax filers. Paper tax returns will begin processing from this date as well
January 31, 2018 Date by which you should have received a W-2 from employers you worked for during the tax year. If not, contact their HR/Payroll department to resend tax documents
February 1, 2018 Deadline for 1099 statements (factors in your AGI income) that report non-employee compensation, bank interest, dividends and distributions from a retirement plan. This date is also the deadline for self-employed individuals to file and pay in full their fourth-quarter estimated tax payment
February 16, 2018 Financial institutions must mail out 1099-B, 1099-S and 1099-MISC forms by this date.
February 17, 2018 First Day for processing EITC and ACTC-related tax returns
February 18, 2018 The first day Where's My Refund? ‎on IRS.gov and the IRS2Go mobile app will be updated for the vast majority of early filers who claimed the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit. Before Feb. 18, some taxpayers may see a projected date or a message that the IRS is processing their return. Taxpayers will not see a refund date on Where's My Refund? ‎or through their software packages until then.
February 28, 2018 The First Day the IRS will begin to release EITC/ACTC refunds to bank accounts and debit cards. -- if there are no processing issues with the tax return and the taxpayer chose direct deposit.
March 15, 2018 S Corporation and Partnership tax returns due
April 17, 2018 Deadline for filing state income tax returns (for most states) and extension requests
April 17, 2018 Tax Day* Last day for filing federal income tax returns and extension requests.
June 15, 2018 U.S. citizens or resident aliens living abroad must file tax returns and pay any taxes due by this date (or file for a four-month extension)
June 30, 2018 FBAR (Foreign Bank Account Report) forms due for taxpayers who have over $10,000 in total in foreign bank accounts in the prior year. No extensions aren’t allowed and forms must be filed electronically
October 15, 2018 Filing extended 2017 federal and state income returns. Note: you still need to file an extension request by April 17th
April 15, 2021 Filing a 2017 tax amendment. You can file an amended or previous year return anytime, but you have a deadline of 3 years from the original due date to claim any tax refund.

Future Tax Day Observances

Year Weekday Date
2019 Monday April 15
2020 Wednesday April 15
2021 Thursday April 15
2022 Monday April 18
2023 Monday April 17
2024 Monday April 15
2025 Tuesday April 15



Online Tax Preparation Software Pros Cons Visit Website
Best price we could find for federal and state filing fees. Easy to use. Automatic refund calculator. Support for part-year nonresident state tax returns. A professional tax consultant is not available. Deluxe edition costs an additional $5.95 for Audit Assist and Priority Support. Can’t import W-2, 1099 or other necessary forms into program. FreeTaxUSA Box 250x250
Good customer support options. Assistance with Affordable Care Act tax implications. Import W-2 forms & 1099-B forms from participating institutions. Ensures 100% accuracy. Does not offer free federal e-filing for 1040EZ. Can’t be used for big business returns. Does not offer the services of a professional tax consultant.
Free federal filing. Couldn’t find the answers to many of our questions. Website does not explain features. Missing many features wanted in a tax service. No ability to import W-2 or other forms. No live chat or user forums.
Price lock guarantee, accuracy guarantee, satisfaction guarantee and maximum refund pledge Affordable federal and state filing fees Free federal and state e-filing for 1040A and 1040EZ Five e-files plus 1 state return included with purchase of the download software Q&A interview guide filers about 2015 taxes and health insurance Professional audit defense Basic, Plus and Premium include identity recovery services Offers professional tax products for CPAs, accountants and other professionals Mobile version available Import W-2 forms from participating institutions as well as prior year returns and charitable donations Ensures 100% accuracy Can only import 1099-B CVS file formats with Tax Act No user forum feature
Very affordable pricing, especially for the number of features Free live chat and email support In-person support at Liberty Tax offices nationwide Import last year’s return from most major tax services Affordable Care Act forms and filing assistance 100% guarantee for biggest return, accuracy and customer satisfaction Free W-2 download Free professional audit assistance No phone assistance No larger business filing options Additional fee for enhanced audit assistance and storing your prior returns No downloadable software available
This online tax service charge the same fee regardless of the type of 1040 you are required to file. It does not charge extra for additional forms or self-employment income. This service does not require a credit card to file. Although this service answered several of our emails within an hour, ezTaxReturn does not publish telephone numbers on its website nor does it provide chat support. This service does not provide service for filing business returns.




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