The first day to file your 2020 taxes is February 12, 2021. The IRS reports that 9 out of 10 taxpayers who filed electronically in 2019 received their tax refunds within 21 days. Some taxpayers receive their refund in as little as 8 days, and most receive it within 10-14 days.
The IRS no longer publishes a tax refund calendar, 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 refund schedule, 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 refund dates. It’s important to note the calendar is an estimate and represents when the majority of tax returns should be processed.
IRS E-File Schedule for Tax Refunds via Check or Direct Deposits
As alluded to above, the IRS previously released an annual schedule to help taxpayers better plan around tax season so tax-filers will know when they can expect to receive their refund check. They stopped this practice in 2013 (2012 tax year) after there were delays in the refund process due to new anti-fraud measures.
The table below shows an approximation of when your federal tax refund should be direct-deposited into your bank account or the date your check will be mailed. This table is based on previous tax return charts. Remember, this is only an estimation and not a guarantee.
How to use this tax refund chart: This schedule only applies to tax returns filed electronically. The left column represents the date your tax refund was accepted by the IRS. 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.
Some important notes about this tax refund schedule: This is only good when you E-File your taxes because the IRS will notify you of the date of acceptance – generally within 72 hours of receipt. Tax returns sent on paper forms must be manually entered into the IRS computers and there is no way to track the date of acceptance. So this chart won’t work for estimating which day your tax return will be sent.
The other important thing to note is that IRS refund checks are processed fairly quickly, usually within 1-2 weeks. This is just one more reason to say no to refund anticipation loans.
When Can I File My Taxes – And When is My Tax Return Due?
What is the first day you can file your 2020 taxes?
February 12, 2021, is the first day you can officially file your 2020 tax return. That said, you can always complete your return as soon as you have your paperwork ready. Many software programs will allow you to submit your return through their system and they will automatically file the return for you on the day the IRS begins accepting returns. This will get your return in the queue faster, and hopefully, get your refund processed more quickly.
Filing Tax Returns Early
The first official day to file taxes is February 12, 2021, according to the IRS. Last year, some people reported they were able to submit their tax return around January 15, as part of IRS HUB Testing. HUB Testing is a controlled launch of the tax return process so the IRS can test the submission process and troubleshoot any errors before making the general launch for all taxpayers.
While there are benefits to submitting early, only a limited number of tax preparation companies are able to process these early returns, and only in limited numbers. Expect your tax return to be processed on the first day of tax return filing unless your tax professional or software company has informed you your return will be included in this program.
When is My 2020 Tax Return Due?
Tax returns are normally due on April 15 each year, unless the 15th falls on a weekend or holiday. If that is the case, the tax return is due on the following business day. For example, in 2018, taxes were due on April 17, 2018, because April 16th is Emancipation Day, an observed holiday in Washington, DC. So it’s a good idea to double-check each year!
What happens if you don’t file your taxes on time?
The most important factors for tax return processing time are whether you efile or file a paper return. As you might have guessed, e-filing results in much faster turnaround time. Paper returns have to be manually entered into the system and can remain in the queue for several days (or longer) before they can be processed. Of course, the complexity of your return also affects how long it takes to process your return.
How long does it take to get a tax refund?
The IRS has a goal of getting tax refunds to taxpayers within 21 days. They reach this goal about 90% of the time. In fact, some people receive their federal tax refund in as few as 8 days, and most people receive their refunds in about 10-14 days.
In previous years, the IRS created an official IRS tax refund schedule for when they will send out federal tax refunds via direct deposit or by check. They now issue general guidance. The general rule of thumb is that direct deposits will be sent out a few days before paper checks are sent out (the delay for a paper check can actually take up to one week, depending on how many refunds the IRS has to process).
Are there any known tax refund delays?
Yes. A law requires the IRS to withhold tax refunds when the taxpayer claims either the Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC) and Additional Child Tax Credits (ACTC). Refunds must be withheld until Feb. 15, 2021, regardless of when you filed your tax return. Tax refunds that claim these credits after that date are processed as they come in. The IRS has also created new anti-fraud measures to combat tax refund theft. So some returns may be delayed for additional review.
When will my refund be in my bank account?
Direct deposits are faster than paper checks. However, keep in mind it may take a few days for your financial institution to make your deposit available to you. Some banks make direct deposits available the day they hit, while other banks may hold the funds for a couple of business days. Check with your bank for more information. Paper checks also have a delay for fund availability: it may take several days for the check to arrive in the mail, then another few days after you deposit the check before the funds are available (many banks place a hold on checks).
What day of the week does the IRS deposit refunds?
The IRS process ACH transactions on any normal business day. (The IRS used to process electronic refunds once or twice a week, now they are processed on each business day).
What day of the week does the IRS mail paper checks?
Electronic Tax Returns and Payments Are Fastest
If you file your taxes with the IRS EFile, or with a tax software program that files your taxes online for you, then you are in luck. You will generally receive your tax refund much more quickly than if you file your taxes by mail. The IRS can process electronic tax returns faster and easier than paper returns. This makes it faster for them to clear the books on your tax return and send you a refund—via either an ACH transaction or by check.
ACH transactions (bank to bank electronic transfers) are much faster and safer than receiving a paper check. So if you want to receive your refund faster, electronic is the way to go! While you are waiting on your tax return, here is a great way to make a fast $250 free money just for opening up a Chase Bank Checking account and savings as a new customer!
Top Tax Filing Services
If you have a little more complicated than using the simple form, then you might want to consider filing with one of the top tax services. Not only can you get your return faster, but you can also take advantage of deductions you may otherwise miss, and get audit protection.
You can check the status of your federal tax refund as soon as 72 hours after the IRS acknowledges receipt of your e-filed return. Please note the IRS only updates the status of your refund once a week, on Wednesdays. So checking back several times a day throughout the week won’t normally give you any new information. The quickest and easiest way to get this information is to go to the Where’s My Refund page. Or, call 1-800-829-1954 or 1-800-829-4477.
Want a Bigger Tax Refund?
If the idea of a larger tax refund sounds appealing to you, then you may wish to take advantage of tax-advantaged accounts, such as opening a Traditional IRA. This will not only help you save money for retirement, but it can also help you receive a larger tax refund, as up to $5,500 worth of contributions are tax-deductible ($6,500 if you are over 50 years of age).