How to check the status of your tax refund

April 5, 2021, 3:46 PM UTC

Is money coming your way?

If you filed your 2020 taxes early expecting a refund, now comes the hard part: waiting for your refund to land.

But rather than constantly hitting “refresh” on your bank account balance, there is a way to check when your refund will arrive. The IRS has a tool on its website called “Get Refund Status.” You can access it here. In order to fill out the online form you will need your Social Security number, your filing status (single, married filing jointly, etc.), and the exact amount that you claimed on your 2020 return to be refunded. The IRS stresses that having this number is critical to receiving the correct response from the system.

Another tool from the IRS is its “IRS2Go” app, which you can download here. The app also provides your refund status as soon as 24 hours after you have e-filed your return or four weeks after mailing your paper return, according to the site.

Generally, tax refunds take about 21 days to process, however there have been reports of delays this year given that the Treasury has also been issuing stimulus checks over the past month.

On that front, tax preparers say that many stimulus check recipients are wondering whether they will have to pay taxes on their checks. More than 150 million Americans received at least one stimulus check in 2020—many received a $1,200 check early in the year and a $600 check in December. “We’re seeing a tremendous amount of questions and uncertainty from people this year around what different life changes or working or income changes mean [for] their taxes,” Andy Phillips, a director at the Tax Institute at H&R Block, told Fortune recently. “A common question is, ‘What do the stimulus payments mean to my taxes?’”

The answer is: not much. You do not need to pay taxes on your stimulus checks, nor will they reduce your refund. Technically they are considered a refundable tax credit by the IRS, and not subject to federal taxation. Fortune answered some other common tax questions, such as which work-from-home expenses are deductible, what the tax brackets are this year, and whether you will owe taxes on unemployment benefits.

Depending on when you filed your 2020 taxes, it’s possible that you may have received (or will shortly receive) a stimulus “plus up” payment. Those are going to individuals whose stimulus check payments were calculated from their most recent tax year filing (likely 2019), but who saw a status change in their 2020 filing—such as the birth of a child—that would equate to a higher stimulus payment amount.

As Fortune recommended in late February, there’s another group that may have been wise to hold off filing their taxes till the last minute: Americans whose incomes rose in 2020 would likely be better off having the IRS use their 2019 filings to determine their stimulus check eligibility.

Regardless, stragglers have a little extra time this year: The filing deadline for 2020 taxes has been extended to May 17.

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