First, A Warning to Users of Online Refund Trackers
2013 marks the dawn of the IRS Refund Tracker- track your tax refund online. But beware of non-IRS websites. Don’t even enter your personal information on other websites, only the IRS. Use only the IRS’s online Refund Tracker to get the status of your IRS tax refund. You can tell it’s the IRS websites because it will say
in the web address. For example, the web address for the official IRS refund tracker page is
You’ll be asked to enter your social security number, you filing status, and your refund amount (which is taken form your federal income tax return- only you have access to that). Here’s what the IRS page looks like, so there’s no confusion about whether you are on the IRS website when you enter this personal information:
Please don’t be fooled by other websites claiming to help you track your refund online. Your refund may be stolen!
Now that we’ve got the warnings out of the way, lets’ talk about how great the IRS’s new refund tracker has proven. What’s great is that you now get a personal response after entering your personal information. Well, a person isn’t going to respond but the information you get is tailored just for you, based on your actual federal income tax return.
The Timing Is The Same
The timing as far as IRS tax refund goes, is the same for everyone involved: 21 days. But any number of things can cause your refund to get delayed. Even something as small as a typo in your address can add days even weeks to the time frame of your refund turnaround.
Don’t panic if you see your refund stuck in processing day after day. It just takes time. Identity theft through the IRS has become a major problem, which is why it’s so important you are on the actual IRS website when you enter your social security number and other personal information to get your refund status.
Why the Refund Delays?
The IRS has had to put into place many protection measures to guard against fraud. There is a long list of red flag items that can cause them to have to scrutinize your return more carefully. They will sort through any red flag alerts and weed out the ones that are not caused by fraud, and finally release yours (provided you have committed no fraud!).