Refund Cycle Chart
2021 Refund Cycle Chart for Tax Year 2020
When it comes to filing a tax return, there are a few questions that people care about more than any other – how much am I paying on taxes, how much will I get back in my tax refund, and when will I receive it? Everything else, the say, is just details.
There is no quick and easy answer to the first two questions. However, we can give you a rough idea of when you will receive your tax refund, but only if you file your federal taxes electronically using a software program or with the IRS E-File. Expect longer delays if you file your return on paper, because it takes longer for the IRS to process your paperwork. The tax refund chart below offers more information on when to expect tax refunds.
Important Tax Filing Dates & Refund Dates
When can I file my tax return? The first day to officially file your 2020 tax return is not set yet. However, many tax software programs will allow you to complete your return and “file” it before that date. They will then hold the returns until the IRS begins accepting them.
When are taxes due? You must file your taxes by April 15, 2021. (April 15 is the tax deadline for most years, unless it falls on a weekend or an observed holiday. April 15, 2021 is the observed holiday for Emancipation Day, for Washington DC). You can file a tax extension if you are not ready to file your taxes by the deadline.
How long does it take to receive my tax refund? Approximately 90% of tax payers will receive their refunds in less than 21 days from the day their tax return was accepted by the IRS. Most people receive their refund in an average of 10-14 days.
Are there any expected tax refund delays? Yes. The IRS is required to hold tax refunds for taxpayers who claim Earned Income Tax Credits and Additional Child Tax credit until at least Feb. 15, 2020. Keep in mind it can still take a week to receive the refund after the IRS releases it. So some people who file early may experience delays while awaiting their refund. Refunds should be processed normally after this date. Also note that new identity theft protections and anti-fraud measures may hold up some refunds, as some tax returns may be held for further review.
IRS E-File Schedule for Check Refunds and Direct Deposits
The following tax refund table is based on previous refund tables released by the IRS to help tax payers know when they should receive their tax refund.
The IRS moved to the Modernized E-file System (MEF) for tax year 2012. The IRS only issued refunds once per week under the old system. They now issue refunds every day, Monday through Friday (except holidays).
Due to changes in the IRS auditing system, they no longer release a full schedule as they did in previous years. The following chart is based on estimates from past years and should only be used as a rough guideline.
To use the tax refund chart:
- Use the left hand column to look up the date your tax refund was accepted
- Use the middle or right column to look up when you should receive your refund (depending on how you requested your refund – direct deposit or paper check).
If you filed your taxes with E-File, you should receive a confirmation that your tax return was accepted by the IRS. This date will go in the left column. If you didn’t file your taxes electronically, then this chart may not be useful for you for two reasons: you won’t have a confirmation date regarding when your tax return was accepted, and paper tax returns are manually entered by IRS employees, so the process takes longer.
You will also note that this chart covers dates beyond the traditional filing date. If you file after April 17, 2021, then you should file a tax extension request. It’s simple, and can potentially save you a lot of money in penalties. Note: Some military members may be eligible for additional tax deadline extensions if they were deployed or served overseas during the tax year.