The IRS will begin accepting tax returns on January 27, 2020, with nearly 150 million individual tax returns expected to be filed in 2020. The nation’s tax deadline will be April 15 this year.

Many software companies and tax professionals will be accepting tax returns before Jan. 27 and then will submit the returns when IRS systems open.  The IRS strongly encourages people to file their tax returns electronically for faster refunds.

The IRS reminds taxpayers that, by law, the IRS cannot issue refunds claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) before mid-February. While the IRS will process those returns when received, it cannot issue related refunds before mid-February. The IRS expects the earliest EITC/ACTC related refunds to be available in taxpayer bank accounts or on debit cards starting the first week of March if they chose direct deposit and there are no other issues with the tax return.  Where’s My Refund should start showing updates on or after Feb. 22, 2020. 

The IRS no longer publishes a tax refund schedules, but they continue to issue guidance stating most taxpayers will receive their refund within 21 days. So we have used IRS guidelines, statements, and historic tax return data to create an IRS e-file cycle chart, which we have published on this page. We have also included additional tax return information, such as a list of important dates and Frequently Asked Questions regarding IRS tax refund dates. It’s important to note the tax refund cycle code charts our an estimate and represents when the majority of tax returns should be processed.

The table below shows an approximation of when your federal tax refund should be directly deposited into your bank account or the date your paper check should arrive by mail. This table is based on previous year tax return charts. Remember, this is only an estimation and not a guarantee.

How to use this tax refund cycle code chart: This schedule only applies to tax returns filed electronically. The left column represents the date your tax refund was accepted by the IRS. Followed by the estimated direct deposit and paper check mailing dates. This chart does not apply to tax refunds filed by mail because it takes the IRS much longer to manually process returns. There is no tax refund schedule for paper returns because it is difficult to know when the IRS will physically process your return.

2020 Tax Refund Schedule for Tax Refunds not affected by PATH ACT Laws

Individual Tax Returns not claiming the following credits

  • Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
  • Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC)
Date Accepted 2020 Direct Deposit Date 2020 Mailed Check Date
Refunds without PATH ACT HOLD Refunds without PATH ACT HOLD
TEST BATCH Jan 13 - 19, 2020 Wednesday, January 29, 2020 Friday, January 31, 2020
TEST BATCH Jan 20 - 26, 2020 Wednesday, February 5, 2020 Friday, February 7, 2020
Jan 27 - Feb 2, 2020 Wednesday, February 12, 2020 Friday, February 14, 2020
Feb 3 - 9, 2020 Wednesday, February 19, 2020 Friday, February 21, 2020
Feb 10 - 16, 2020 Wednesday, February 26, 2020 Friday, February 28, 2020
Feb 17 - 23, 2020 Wednesday, March 4, 2020 Friday, March 6, 2020
Feb 24 - Mar 1, 2020 Wednesday, March 11, 2020 Friday, March 13, 2020
Mar 2 - 8, 2020 Wednesday, March 18, 2020 Friday, March 20, 2020
Mar 9 - 15, 2020 Wednesday, March 25, 2020 Friday, March 27, 2020
Mar 16 - 22, 2020 Wednesday, April 1, 2020 Friday, April 3, 2020
Mar 23 - 29, 2020 Wednesday, April 8, 2020 Friday, April 10, 2020
Mar 30 - Apr 5, 2020 Wednesday, April 15, 2020 Friday, April 17, 2020
Apr 6 - 12, 2020 Wednesday, April 22, 2020 Friday, April 24, 2020
Apr 13 - 19, 2020 Wednesday, April 29, 2020 Friday, May 1, 2020
Apr 20 - 26, 2020 Wednesday, May 6, 2020 Friday, May 8, 2020
Apr 27 - May 3, 2020 Wednesday, May 13, 2020 Friday, May 15, 2020
May 4 - 10, 2020 Wednesday, May 20, 2020 Friday, May 22, 2020
May 11 - 17, 2020 Wednesday, May 27, 2020 Friday, May 29, 2020
May 18 - 24, 2020 Wednesday, June 3, 2020 Friday, June 5, 2020
May 25 - May 31, 2020 Wednesday, June 10, 2020 Friday, June 12, 2020
Jun 1 - June 7, 2020 Wednesday, June 17, 2020 Friday, June 19, 2020

*** This table is based on past trends & general guidelines. This has not been issued by IRS & cannot be relied upon for exact timelines for refunds.

2020 Tax Refund Schedule for Tax Refunds HELD by PATH ACT Laws

The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act (aka “PATH Act”) prevents the IRS from issuing early refunds on any tax return claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and/or Additional Child Tax Credit. Because identity thieves frequently claim one or both of these refundable tax credits, this measure gives the IRS extra time to detect fraudulently-filed returns, which in turn helps identity theft victims get their legitimate refunds more quickly. The IRS will begin issuing tax refunds on returns with the EIC or Additional Child Tax Credits after February 15, 2020. If your return contains either of these credits, you can track its status at the IRS Where’s My Refund site starting on February 22, 2020.

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Individual Tax Returns claiming the following credits will see a delay in refund timing

  • Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
  • Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC)
Date Accepted 2020 Direct Deposit Date 2020 Mailed Check Date
PATH ACT REFUNDS⬇ PATH ACT REFUNDS⬇
TEST BATCH Jan 13 - 19, 2020 ⬇ON HOLD⬇ ⬇ON HOLD⬇
TEST BATCH Jan 20 - 26, 2020 ⬇ON HOLD⬇ ⬇ON HOLD⬇
Jan 27 - Feb 2, 2020 ⬇ON HOLD⬇ ⬇ON HOLD⬇
Feb 3 - 9, 2020 ⬇ON HOLD⬇ ⬇ON HOLD⬇
Feb 10 - 16, 2020 FIRST Batch of PATH Hold Refunds Wednesday, February 26, 2020 FIRST Batch of PATH Hold Refunds Friday, February 28, 2020
Feb 17 - 23, 2020 Second Batch of PATH Hold Refunds Wednesday, March 4, 2020 Second Batch of PATH Hold Refunds Friday, March 6, 2020
Feb 24 - Mar 1, 2020 Wednesday, March 11, 2020 Friday, March 13, 2020
Mar 2 - 8, 2020 Wednesday, March 18, 2020 Friday, March 20, 2020
Mar 9 - 15, 2020 Wednesday, March 25, 2020 Friday, March 27, 2020
Mar 16 - 22, 2020 Wednesday, April 1, 2020 Friday, April 3, 2020
Mar 23 - 29, 2020 Wednesday, April 8, 2020 Friday, April 10, 2020
Mar 30 - Apr 5, 2020 Wednesday, April 15, 2020 Friday, April 17, 2020
Apr 6 - 12, 2020 Wednesday, April 22, 2020 Friday, April 24, 2020
Apr 13 - 19, 2020 Wednesday, April 29, 2020 Friday, May 1, 2020
Apr 20 - 26, 2020 Wednesday, May 6, 2020 Friday, May 8, 2020
Apr 27 - May 3, 2020 Wednesday, May 13, 2020 Friday, May 15, 2020
May 4 - 10, 2020 Wednesday, May 20, 2020 Friday, May 22, 2020
May 11 - 17, 2020 Wednesday, May 27, 2020 Friday, May 29, 2020
May 18 - 24, 2020 Wednesday, June 3, 2020 Friday, June 5, 2020
May 25 - May 31, 2020 Wednesday, June 10, 2020 Friday, June 12, 2020
Jun 1 - June 7, 2020 Wednesday, June 17, 2020 Friday, June 19, 2020

*** This table is based on past trends & general guidelines. This has not been issued by IRS & cannot be relied upon for exact timelines for refunds.

Check Out 2019 IRS E-File Refund Cycle Charts

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