Where's My Tax Refund?!

Photographed by Rachel Cabitt.
You filed your taxes before the one-week stretch, just like Uncle Sam and your parents wanted you to do. You're expecting a solid (or at least some sort of) refund, some of which you hope to put away for long-term savings. And you've already envisioned how you'll spend the rest. Unfortunately, the IRS is taking its sweet time to make it rain.
If you're desperate to know where your money is, you don't have to badger the person who did your taxes, or your parents, or your friends. Ballparking based on when other people got their checks might not help you get any closer to yours. Instead, visit the IRS website and type some basic information into the "Where's My Refund?" page. Or, you can download the IRS2Go app on iTunes or Google Play, or call the IRS Refund Hotline at 1-800-829-1954. So modern! (You could also step into the 21st century next year and go with direct deposit if you didn't this year; it's the fastest way to get your money back.)
On "Where's My Refund?" users are advised to check the status of their refunds 24 hours after the IRS has received an electronic return, or four weeks after they've received a paper return. According to the agency, most refunds are issued less than three weeks after a tax return has been received, so try not to creep too hard. Call if more than 21 days have passed since you filed electronically, more than six weeks have passed since you mailed your paper return, or if the "Where's My Refund?" tool advises you to contact the IRS.
Remember to keep your wits about you, no matter how eager you are for your payday. "The IRS doesn't initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages, or social media channels to request personal or financial information," emphasizes a statement on IRS. gov. "In addition, IRS does not threaten taxpayers with lawsuits, imprisonment, or other enforcement action."
So if someone calls, emails, or slides into your DMs alleging that they just need your mother's maiden name, your SSN, and a bunch more personal info to disburse your check, report them — and keep waiting patiently.

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