One of the most pressing questions in the life of an early tax filer – when can I expect my tax refund to come? Before e-filing, this was always difficult to predict. First, you mail in your return. Then someone inputs all your information (and later, computers scanned in your information), then the Treasury had to issue a check, which was then mailed to you. Now, with a free IRS e-file, you can get your refund in as little as 8 days from when you file, if you elect for direct deposit.
For 9 out of 10 taxpayers, the IRS issued refunds in less than 21 days from the date the return was received last year. Skip right to the estimated tax refund calendar here >>
The IRS will begin accepting tax returns on January 24, 2022. That’s about 3 weeks earlier than last year. Let’s hope no more last minute changes come in and delay this! See the announcement here.
However, many tax programs do allow you to file early – and some lucky filers even get accepted into test batches with the IRS.
2022 Tax Deadline: Monday, April 18, 2022.
April 15 in Emancipation Day in Washington D.C. so the deadline gets moved to the next business day.
The IRS does not release a calendar, but continues to issue guidance that most filers should receive their refund within 21 days. They also remind filers that many tax software programs allow you to submit your taxes before the start of tax season. However, these software programs don’t eFile until the IRS opens the system (with a few minor exceptions for testing).
Also, you are legally allowed to mail in your 2021 tax return starting on January 1, 2022. However, if you mail in your return, you can expect to add at least 12 weeks to your processing time (at the low end). Make sure you understand all the tax deadlines here.
We also have put together an IRS Where’s My Refund FAQ and Questions for common issues people are seeing this year.
Early Filers – You Will See A Delay In Your Refund
Early filers typically see a delay every year. We’re hoping that this will likely not be as much of an issue this year due to minimal changes, but we could see things that like Advance Child Tax Credit throwing some curve balls.
Remember, Congress passed a law that requires the IRS to HOLD all tax refunds that include the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) until February 15, 2022, regardless of how early the tax return was filed. So, if you file on the first day, you might still be waiting until February 15 for your refund.
The IRS typically provides updates with direct deposit dates, assuming there are no other problems with the tax returns. We expect the actual first direct deposits to arrive the third week of February, similar to previous years.
The goal of this is to cut down on fraud and give the IRS time to ensure no duplicate returns are filed. The trouble is, the IRS will hold your entire tax refund, not just the EITC or ACTC part.
When you get your refund, don’t let it go to waste! Make sure you put it in a high yield savings account ASAP!
Save Your Tax Return
If you’re looking to get your tax return faster, check out GO2bank, which allows faster money deposits from the government – whether tax refunds or future stimulus checks. You can potentially receive your government payment several days earlier than you normally would. Open a GO2bank checking account here >>
While getting your tax return is exciting, consider saving it in one of these top savings accounts.
Or, check out Discover Bank Savings, which currently is offering up to a $200 bonus if you open your first account by September 15, 2022 online, by phone, or in the Discover App using the code TCI622. You must apply by September 15, 2022, fund the account within 30 days of opening it, and complete the qualifying activities within 30 days of opening. Check out Discover Savings here >>
2022 IRS Refund Schedule Chart
Here is a chart of when you can expect your tax refund for when the return was accepted (based on e-Filing). This is an estimate based on past years trends, but based on past information, does seem accurate for about 90% of taxpayers. Also, as always, you can use the link after the calendar to get your specific refund status.
When can you file your 2021 tax return? Anytime between January 24 and April 18, 2022.
Now, when to expect my tax refund based on when it’s accepted!
If, for some reason, you didn’t receive your return in the time specified above, give or take a few days, you can always use the IRS’s tool called Get Refund Status. Since the link requires personal information, here is the non-html version: https://sa2.www4.irs.gov/irfof/lang/en/irfofgetstatus.jsp.
Once you enter all your information, it will tell you what is going on with your refund. Remember, if you input the wrong SSN, it could cause an IRS Error Code 9001, and might make your return be held for Identity Verification.
Also, many people are concerned because they received a Reference Code when checking WMR. Here is a complete list of IRS Reference Codes. Just match up the code with the one in the list, and see what the problem could be. As always, if you are concerned, you can call the IRS directly at (800) 829-1040.
IRS Refund Status – How To Track Your Refund
The IRS has multiple ways that you can track your tax refund.
The main ways to track your refund are:
Note: the old “Where’s my Refund” site is now simply called Check My Refund Status on the IRS webpage. It’s essentially the same tool.
First, it starts with your tax software, tax preparer, or your paper refund. Once you submit it, the IRS receives it. To confirm the IRS receives it, you’ll see the “accepted” message in your tracking software.
All “your tax return was accepted” means that it passed a basic test of having a valid social security number and other data. It doesn’t mean anything except that it’s in the IRS queue for processing. Your 21 day average starts from this point in time. If you filed before the IRS started accepting eFile submissions, your 21 day processing time starts from the IRS start date.
At the 21 day mark, you should either see a message that says approved or take action. If you’re approved, you should have a date and see your direct deposit in your account within a few days of that date (depending on your bank). If you see a take action message, you may be subject to a tax offset or other issue. Check out these common IRS issues.
Important Notice For Tax Time
Did you know that identity theft, especially around tax season, is running rampant? People’s credit information was stolen at Target, Home Depot, even The State of California. Now’s a great time to make sure that your credit is safe.
Credit Karma: Second, now is a great time to check your credit report and make sure that there are no issues. You should be checking your credit at least once per year, and tax time is a great time to do it. We recommend using Credit Karma because it’s free! Plus, Credit Karma has a lot of great tools to help you improve your credit if you need to, and they can help you monitor your credit over time.
Tax Refund FAQ
Here are some of the most common questions and FAQs around this tax refund calendar and tax refund schedule:
When can I expect my tax refund?
The IRS says that 90% of tax filers receive their refund within 21 days. We built our tax refund calendar around this guideline.
What if I filed EITC or ACTC?
If you have the Earned Income Tax Credit or Additional Child Tax Credit, your refund does not start processing until February 15. Your 21 day average starts from this point – so you can usually expect your tax refund the last week of February or first week of March.
How long does it take to process a return sent by mail?
If you mailed your tax return, allow twelve weeks for processing, then your 21 day period starts once your tax return is in the IRS system.
Are tax returns delayed due to the Coronavirus pandemic?
Returns are potentially delayed due to Covid-19. If you eFiled and have no issues with your tax return, you shouldn’t have any delays. However, if you file by mail, expect significant delays. Also, if there are any issues with your return, expect delays as well.
What if I get Tax Topic 152?
Tax Topic 152 simply means you’re getting a refund! Sit back, relax, and wait for that direct deposit or check to come!
What if I get Tax Topic 151?
This means you have a tax offset. Some or all of your refund is being garnished. Read our full guide to this here.