Tax Day Is Past. Here's When You Could Expect Your Refund Money

Tax Day 2024 is over for most of us. We'll help you learn how to track the status of your refund, if you're eligible to receive money back from the IRS.

Katie Teague Writer II
Katie is a writer covering all things how-to at CNET, with a focus on Social Security and notable events. When she's not writing, she enjoys playing in golf scrambles, practicing yoga and spending time on the lake.
Expertise Personal Finance: Social Security and taxes
Katie Teague
5 min read
Money and taxes

When can you expect your money?

James Martin/CNET

For the vast majority of the US, April 15 was Tax Day -- the final day taxes are due to the IRS. There are some exceptions, like if you file a tax extension or live in one of these nine states (and were affected by certain natural disasters). Although the IRS has been coordinating tax refunds for months, the process of receiving (slightly more) money back for over 66 million filers so far isn't instantaneous.

If you're one of the nearly 102 million people who've already filed your taxes, you could still be waiting for your money to arrive -- especially if you've opted to receive a paper check instead of an electronic refund into your bank account. If it's been more than 21 days since you filed your tax return and you still haven't received your money, it's time to use the IRS refund tracker tool to check the status of your money.

Keep reading to find out how to track the status of your refund and any other money the IRS owes you, to learn about what status messages mean, what to know about calling the IRS if a problem occurs, and other tips. For more on money matters, here's when you could expect to receive your child tax credit money. And here's the best tax software for 2024 if you got an extension.

Track the status of your 2024 tax refund with this tool

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The quickest way to monitor your tax refund is with the IRS' Where's My Refund? tracker page, which also lets you know if your return has been rejected because of errors

To use the IRS' tracker tools, you'll need to provide your Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, your filing status (single, married or head of household) and your refund amount in whole dollars.

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Go to the Get Refund Status page on the IRS website, enter your personal data, then press Submit.

If you're not taken to a page that shows your refund status, you may be asked to verify your personal tax data and try again. If all the information looks correct, you'll need to enter the date you filed your taxes, along with whether you filed electronically or on paper.

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Make sure it's been at least 24 hours before you start tracking an online return, or up to four weeks if you mailed your return. 

Yes, you can track a refund from previous years

The Where's My Refund tool lists the federal refund information the IRS has from the past two years. If you're looking for return details from previous years, you'll need to check your IRS online account

From there, you'll be able to see the total amount you owe, your payment history, key information about your most recent tax return, notices you've received from the IRS and your address on file. 

The IRS has a mobile app to track your refund, too

IRS2Go logo

The IRS2Go app is available to use on both iOS and Android.

Internal Revenue Service

The IRS also has a mobile app called IRS2Go that can monitor your tax refund status. It's available for both iOS and Android and in English and Spanish.

You're able to see if your return has been received and approved in the app, and if a refund has been sent.

To log in, you'll need your Social Security number, filing status and the expected amount of your refund. The IRS updates the app overnight, so if you don't see a status change, check back the following day. 

What these tax return status messages mean

The IRS tools will show you one of three messages explaining your tax return status.

  • Received: The IRS now has your tax return and is working to process it.
  • Approved: The IRS has processed your return and confirmed the amount of your refund if you're owed one.
  • Sent: Your refund is now on its way to your bank via direct deposit or as a paper check sent to your mailbox. (Here's how to change the address on file if you've moved.)

Why you might see 'Tax Topic 152' or an IRS error message

Although the Where's My Refund tool typically shows a status of Received, Approved or Sent, there are a variety of other messages some users may see.

One of the most common is Tax Topic 152, indicating you're likely getting a refund but it hasn't been approved or sent yet. The notice simply links out to an informational topic page on the IRS FAQ website explaining the types and timing of tax refunds.

The delay could be an automated message for taxpayers claiming the child tax credit or earned income tax credit sent because of additional fraud protection steps.

Tax Topic 151 means your tax return is now under review by the IRS. The agency either needs to verify certain credits or dependents, or it has determined that your tax refund will be reduced to pay money that it believes you owe. You'll need to wait about four weeks to receive a notice from the IRS explaining what you need to do to resolve the status.

There are other IRS refund codes that a small percentage of tax filers receive, indicating freezes, math errors on tax returns or undelivered checks. The College Investor offers a list of IRS refund reference codes and errors and their meaning. 

Problems? What to know about calling the IRS about your refund

Getting live phone assistance is notoriously difficult at the IRS. In 2022, only about 13% of taxpayers reached a human being, according to Erin M. Collins, the national taxpayer advocate.

Congress has since increased the agency's funding, and the IRS said it has hired thousands of new telephone representatives. Still, the agency says you should call only if it's been at least 21 days since you filed your taxes online or if the Where's My Refund tool tells you to.

The IRS said wait times during tax season can average 4 minutes, but they also said you may experience longer wait times on Monday and Tuesday, as well as during Presidents Day weekend (Feb. 17, 18 and 19) and around the April tax filing deadline.

You can call 800-829-1040 or 800-829-8374 during regular business hours. 

Otherwise, the IRS is directing taxpayers to the Let Us Help You page on its website and to in-person help at Taxpayer Assistance Centers around the country. You can contact your local IRS office or call 844-545-5640 to make an appointment. If you're eligible for assistance, you can also contact the Taxpayer Advocate Service at 877-777-4778. 

What 'IRS TREAS 310' means as a bank statement transaction

If you receive your tax refund by direct deposit, you may see IRS TREAS 310 listed in the transaction. The 310 code simply identifies the transaction as a refund from a filed tax return in the form of electronic payment. You may also see TAX REF in the description field for a refund.

If you see a 449 instead of 310, it means your refund may have been offset for delinquent debt.

Why your refund was mailed instead of issued via direct deposit

There are a few reasons why your refund may be mailed rather than deposited electronically into your account. Keep in mind:

  • You must provide the correct account and routing number.
  • Funds can only be deposited into an account with your name or your spouse's name (or both for a joint account). 
  • The IRS can only do direct deposit for up to three refunds into one account.

If you're receiving a refund check in the mail, here's how to track it from the IRS office to your mailbox.