10 Things You Should Know About Tax Refunds

Are you expecting a refund from the IRS this year?

The average tax refund stands at just a hair under three thousand dollars. At this time last year, the average was a little over that amount, sitting at $3,030 (the average for last year would later fall to $2,803 as later filers were accounted for).

In previous years, the average tax refund has been in the same range, with the average peaking for the 2009 tax year before slipping:

  • Average 2012 Refund: $2,803
  • Average 2011 Refund: $2,913
  • Average 2010 Refund: $3,003
  • Average 2009 Refund: $3,036
  • Average 2008 Refund: $2,728
  • Average 2007 Refund: $2,699

 

10 Things You Should Know About Tax Refunds

Here are the top ten things you should know about your tax refund.

  • Refund Options You have two options for receiving your individual federal income tax refund: a paper check or a direct deposit.
  • Separate Accounts You may use Form 8888, Direct Deposit of Refund to More Than One Account, to request that your refund be allocated by direct deposit among up to three separate accounts, such as checking or savings or retirement accounts.
  • Paper Return Processing Time If you file a complete and accurate paper tax return, your refund will usually be issued within six weeks from the received date.
  • Returns Filed Electronically If you filed electronically, your refund will normally be issued within three weeks after the acknowledgment date.
  • Check the Status Online The fastest and easiest way to find out about your current year refund is to go to the IRS.gov Web site and click on the “Where’s My Refund?” link available from the home page. You will need your Social Security number, filing status and the exact whole dollar amount of your refund to check the status online.
  • Check the Status By Phone Call the IRS Refund Hotline at 800-829–1954. When you call, you will need to provide your Social Security number, your filing status, and the exact whole dollar amount of the refund shown on your return.
  • Delayed Refund There are several reasons for delayed refunds. For things that may delay the processing of your return, refer to Tax Topic 303 on IRS.gov, which includes a Checklist of Common Errors When Preparing Your Tax Return.
  • Larger than Expected Refund If you receive a refund to which you are not entitled, or one for an amount that is more than you expected, do not cash the check until you receive a notice explaining the difference. Follow the instructions on the notice.
  • Smaller than Expected Refund If you receive a refund for a smaller amount than you expected, you may cash the check, and, if it is determined that you should have received more, you will later receive a check for the difference. If you did not receive a notice and you have questions about the amount of your refund, wait two weeks after receiving the refund, then call 800–829–1040.
  • Missing Refund The IRS will assist you in obtaining a replacement check for a refund check that is verified as lost or stolen. If the IRS was unable to deliver your refund because you moved, you can change your address online. Once your address has been changed, the IRS can reissue the undelivered check. For more information, visit IRS.gov or call 800-829-1040.

 

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