How to Track an Income Tax Return

Refunds for electronically filed returns are processed in two to three weeks.

Form 1040 Tax Forms image by Viola Joyner from

Seventy-two hours after you file your federal tax return electronically or one month after you submit it by mail, the IRS has a record of its receipt. At that point, you can contact the federal agency’s representatives or access its online system to track the status of your refund or to clarify other questions you may have about the return. Contact your state revenue agency to find out the best method to track your state tax return.

Step 1

Go to and click the “Where’s My Refund?” link. To use the online system to check the status of your tax refund, have handy your Social Security number, your filing status and the amount of your federal refund. This information is available on the IRS Form 1040 you filed.

Step 2

Fill out the online form that appears on the next screen and click “Submit.” The IRS electronic system will display the status of your refund. It may give you an estimated date for the release of your payment or instruct you to call the agency’s toll-free number if there are pending issues with your tax return.

Step 3

Call an IRS agent at 800-829-1040 to track your income tax return. Customer service representatives are available Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. your local time. If you live in Hawaii or Alaska, make your call as if you were in the Pacific timezone. For telephone assistance if you have a hearing impairment, call 800-829-4059. If you are calling to check the status of your refund specifically, dial 800-829-4477.

Step 4

Walk into an IRS local office to check the status of your tax return. A list of offices is available at by clicking “Contact Us.” Take photo identification and your Social Security number with you.

Step 5

Write to the IRS to inquire about your income tax return. The “Contact Us” link at takes you to a list of options that includes mailing addresses for correspondence with the agency. The location where you send your letter depends on where you live. Include in your note your Social Security number and name as listed on your return.