How to Track Your Tax Refund For Free

Open mailbox with letters on rural backgound.
Bet_Noire / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Tracking your tax refund has never been easier. There are free tools available, such as the IRS “Where’s My Refund?” tool and USPS Informed Delivery, that allow taxpayers to track their tax refund and know exactly when it’s arriving.

Track Through the IRS

You can access the “Where’s My Refund?” tool through IRS.gov or the IRS2Go App to check your refund status 24 hours after an e-filed return is received. This tool also provides a personalized date after the return is processed and a refund is approved. According to the IRS, most tax refunds are issued within 21 days; however, some may take longer if the return requires additional review. 

To use the “Where’s My Refund?” tool, you must provide your Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, your filing status and the amount of your expected refund. The IRS updates this tool once per day, typically at night. 

Track Via the USPS

If you’re expecting a paper check through the mail, you can also use USPS Informed Delivery. This free USPS service sends you alerts for all new mail with images of the front of letters so you know what’s arriving.

Before signing up for Informed Delivery, CNET advises you to first check whether Informed Delivery is available in your area. If it’s available, go to the USPS Informed Delivery page and select “Sign Up for Free.”

Make Your Money Work For You

Enter your mailing address and accept the terms and conditions. Next, choose a username, password and security key. Press continue after entering your contact information.

Safety Precautions You Should Take

You’ll need to verify your identity. Select “Verify identity online” to receive a verification code on your phone or select “Request invitation code by mail” if you want the USPS to mail you a code. You may also visit your local post office to verify your identity in person.

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