Do Smaller Tax Refunds Come Back Quicker?

The experience of preparing and filing a tax return ends with the anticipation of a refund for lucky taxpayers. Waiting for it can be stressful, even if it is a small amount. Fortunately, you can relieve this stress with some information about processing schedules from the Internal Revenue Service.


The Internal Revenue Service has a system for remitting refunds that does not depend on the individual refund amount. Instead, it depends on the method the taxpayer used to file the tax return and the option chosen to receive the refund. For instance, taxpayers who filed their returns electronically receive their refunds faster than individuals who submitted paper forms. People who chose to receive their refunds by direct deposit receive them faster than people who chose to receive a check by mail.


If you filed an electronic return, you can receive your refund from the Internal Revenue Service in 21 days or less. Taxpayers who filed a paper return can receive it within six weeks. Any amendments to the tax filing increase processing time; refunds on amended returns will arrive within 12 weeks.

Possible Delays

It will take more time to receive your refund if there are errors in your tax return. Common errors include incorrect Social Security numbers, names, filing status and bank routing numbers. Possible issues at the IRS offices could also lengthen the time, such as adjusting the machines for new tax laws.

Checking Refund Status

You can contact the Internal Revenue Service to check the status of your refund. Check online with the IRS' “Where’s my Refund” tool or call the Refund Hotline at 800-829-1954. You can start checking 24 hours after you filed an electronic return or four weeks after you filed a paper return.