How long does it take for the IRS to approve a refund? Check the details here!

The IRS typically issues most refunds in fewer than 21 days. If you e-file, it typically takes 24 to 48 hours for the IRS to accept your return. Once your return is accepted, you can start checking the status of your refund within 24 hours. 

How long does it take for the IRS to approve a refund?

Most tax refunds are processed by the IRS in under 21 days. If you file electronically, it usually takes 24 to 48 hours for the IRS to approve your return. Once approved, you can begin tracking your refund status within 24 hours.

As soon as your tax return and refund are authorised, the IRS will notify you of the exact refund date. If you file a complete and accurate paper tax return, your refund should be given within six to eight weeks after the IRS receiving your return. 

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If you submit your return online, your refund should arrive in less than three weeks, and direct deposit will expedite the process even more.

When will the IRS start issuing refunds 2024?

The IRS has already begun issuing refunds for the 2023 tax year, as the official filing season started on January 29, 2024.They aim to process most electronic returns and issue refunds within 21 days of acceptance. 

  • February 15, 2024: Earliest filing date for EITC/Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) claimants.
  • February 17, 2024: Updates to the Where’s My Refund feature for early EITC/ACTC filers.
  • February 27, 2024: Most EITC/ACTC refunds are expected to arrive in bank accounts or debit cards (assuming direct deposit and no difficulties).

How long does it take for the IRS to approve a refund?

Factor affecting IRS refund timing for tax year 2023

The timing of your IRS refund can depend on several factors, some within your control and others entirely out of your hands. Here are some factors to consider:

Factors You Can Influence:

  • Filing method: E-filing with direct deposit is the fastest route, taking as little as 3 weeks. Paper returns typically take longer, averaging 4-6 weeks.
  • Filing date: The earlier you file, the sooner the processing can begin.
  • Tax complexity: Simple returns get processed quicker, while complex forms like Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) claims or those with international income may take longer, up to 6 months or more.
  • Accuracy and completeness: Errors or missing information trigger delays while the IRS rectifies issues. Double-check everything before submitting.

Factors Beyond Your Control:

  • IRS workload: During peak season, processing times can naturally increase.
  • Verification procedures: Claims for dependents or specific income sources might require additional documentation from the IRS, extending the wait.
  • System hiccups: Technical issues within the IRS could cause temporary delays.

How to speed up the timing of your federal tax refund?

While there’s no magic wand to make your refund appear instantly, there are definitely some steps you can take to increase the chances of a speedy refund:

Pre-filing Proactiveness:

  • Gather documents early: Having everything organised upfront minimises post-filing delays if they request additional information.
  • Choose the right method: E-filing with direct deposit is the fastest option, averaging around 3 weeks for most returns.
  • File early: The earlier you file, the sooner the clock starts ticking for processing.
  • Use tax prep software: Software can flag potential errors and guide you through the process efficiently.

Accuracy and Efficiency:

  • Double-check all information: Errors, even typos, can trigger delays for verification.
  • Claim credits cautiously: Only claim credits you’re confident about to avoid triggering additional scrutiny.
  • Review state deadlines: Ensure you file state returns by their respective deadlines to avoid holdups.

How to track the status of your refund?

Tracking your IRS refund can be an anxious experience, but the good news is the IRS offers a convenient online tool called “Where’s My Refund?” to keep you updated on its progress. Here’s how to use it:

  • Head to the official IRS website at and click on the “Tools & Help” tab in the top right corner.
  • Try searching “Where’s My Refund?” farther down the page.section under the “Topic Links” heading. Click on the “Check My Refund Status” button.
  • You’ll be prompted to enter your Social Security number (or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number), your filing status, and the exact amount of your refund as shown on your tax return. 
  • Once you enter the information, click on the “Submit” button. 

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