Filling out your federal tax return may be a headache -- but,
luckily, checking the status of your refund is easy. The IRS gives
taxpayers two ways to find out when they'll get their money: its
Web site and a free smart phone app.
You can use the
Where's My Refund?
tool at IRS.gov to check the status of your refund 24 hours after
you e-file your return or four weeks after you mail your return
(you're still using paper?) You'll need to enter your Social
Security number, filing status and refund amount as shown on your
This year, the tool has a tracker that displays progress through
3 stages: (1) Return Received, (2) Refund Approved and (3) Refund
The Where's My Refund function is also built into the IRS's app,
, available for Apple and Android platforms. The app also includes
other options to get additional personal tax information -- and
updates on tax law changes and IRS programs.
Both options provide an estimated date that the IRS will issue
your refund -- not the date that you'll receive it. How fast will
the IRS turn it around? Last year they issued more than 9 out of 10
refunds to taxpayers in less than 21 days last year, and expects
the same in 2013.
When you receive your refund, consider these
10 smart uses
for the money. Then consider adjusting your tax withholding so that
you get the money when you earn it. Sure, it feels great to get a
fat check you can use to pay down debt, fund a vacation or add to a
retirement account. But it also means you're handing over too much
money to Uncle Sam - money you could use each month to pay bills,
buy groceries, invest in stocks or whatever. Use our
Tax Withholding Calculator
to see how much you can add to your paycheck by adjusting your