Tax Refund Chart - How Long Do I Have To Wait For My Tax Refund?

19, Apr, 2021
Tax Refund Chart - How Long Do I Have to Wait for My Tax Refund?
Author - Phil Baker

The COVID-19 pandemic caused countless delays during the 2020 tax season. We get a lot of questions about the 2021 tax season, such as: "When is my tax refund coming?" "When is the earliest I can receive my tax refund?"Let's discuss the tax refund chart. If you're wondering these questions yourself, we've got you covered! In this article, we'll be outlining the 2021 tax refund chart to give you a better idea of when you can receive your tax returns.

2021 Tax Season Updates

The 2021 tax season is officially upon us. The IRS announced that the official day that taxes will open for eFile is February 12, 2021. This is much later than usual, but it's almost par for the course given all the delays and cancellations we've experienced since 2020. With things such as the stimulus checks, the IRS claims the extra time is to program their tax changes for 2021.
The official tax deadline is Wednesday, April 15, 2021. This remains unchanged and is much earlier than last year when the pandemic affected people's ability to file taxes. The IRS doesn't release a calendar for tax refund timelines. They tell taxpayers that they'll receive a refund within 21 days of submitting their forms.
Let's look at a few potential delays and changes that taxpayers will face when filing their taxes this year.

COVID-19 Delays and Changes

Let's address the elephant in the room. The pandemic's ripple effects will likely slow down processing returns for most taxpayers. This is because IRS workers are still working remotely, and the logistical challenges might cause delays. There are also the latest stimulus checks to consider.
If you submit your forms by mail, expect to see even more delays. Physical mail was held up quite often in 2020, so eFile your taxes if you can.

Potential Delays for Early Filers

Early tax filers almost always have their returns delayed. 2021 probably won't be much different. Congress passed a law that requires the IRS to hold all tax refunds until February 15, 2021, regardless of when they were submitted. This means you'll be waiting until at least the 15th to get your refunds.

What Is The IRS Refund Schedule?

Like we mentioned before, the IRS doesn't release a calendar for tax returns. This might be because everyone's filing situation is different. While most refunds are issued 21 days after they're filed, a few things can affect the timing of your refund. This includes:

  • How you sent your return, usually either by mail or online
  • When you filed your return, filing it earlier will result in earlier returns
  • Which credits you claimed, as choosing certain credits are known to cause delays

For example, if you opted for eFiling or mailing but set up a direct deposit, you'll likely wait up to 3 weeks for a refund. If you eFiled and opted for receiving a check, you'll wait up to a month in 2021 for your returns. If you mailed in your return and opted for a check, there's a chance you'll wait up to 2 months for your returns. Let's take a look at our 2021 tax refund chart to get a more accurate timeline for your returns:

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2021 Tax Refund Chart

These are all estimated dates for the 2021 tax return season. These dates all assume that you put in the information correctly and didn't claim any tax breaks that might cause delays:

  • If the IRS accepts your return by February 12th, direct deposit will arrive as early as February 23rd and checks as early as March 2nd
  • If the IRS accepts your return by February 19th, direct deposit will arrive as early as March 2nd and checks as early as March 9th
  • If the IRS accepts your return by February 26th, direct deposit will arrive as early as March 9th and checks as early as March 16th
  • If the IRS accepts your return by March 5th, direct deposit will arrive as early as March 16th and checks as early as March 23rd
  • If the IRS accepts your return by March 12th, direct deposit will arrive as early as March 23rd and checks as early as March 30th
  • If the IRS accepts your return by March 19th, direct deposit will arrive as early as March 30th and checks as early as April 6th
  • If the IRS accepts your return by March 26th, direct deposit will arrive as early as April 6th and checks as early as April 13th
  • If the IRS accepts your return by April 2nd, direct deposit will arrive as early as April 13th and checks as early as April 20th
  • If the IRS accepts your return by April 9th, direct deposit will arrive as early as April 20th and checks as early as April 27th
  • If the IRS accepts your return by April 16th, direct deposit will arrive as early as April 27th and checks as early as May 4th
  • If the IRS accepts your return by April 23rd, direct deposit will arrive as early as May 4th and checks as early as May 11th
  • If the IRS accepts your return by April 30th, direct deposit will arrive as early as May 11th and checks as early as May 18th

Tax Refund FAQs

Now that you have a general timeline for your tax returns with our tax refund chart, you might have a few lingering questions about the process. Here are a few popular FAQs and our answers for each one.

Which Tax Breaks Affect the Timing of My Refund?

If you're claiming an Earned Income Tax Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit, there's a good chance you'll see some delays. The IRS doesn't send these refunds out until around mid-February.

What if I Only Filed One of My Two W-2 Forms?

Suppose you received two W-2s but forgot to file one of them, no sweat. Just file an amended return, then look at whether you need to file anything else.

What If My Tax Forms Are Incorrect?

If your forms, such as your W-2s are incorrect, contact your employer immediately. If they don't respond in time, call the IRS, and they can get you on the right track.

Know Your Tax Refund Timeline and Act Today

2020 made tax season a bigger hurdle than it already was, but 2021 can be different. Use our tax refund chart to know exactly when you can get your returns so you can start saving and investing that money right away! Looking for accurate and timely pay stubs? Check out our website and browse through our modern and user-friendly stub templates.

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