when to expect my tax refund
June 02, 2023

When to Expect My Tax Refund in 2023? A Complete Guide

Personal Taxes

Every year US taxpayers face the same question: When to expect my tax refund? The answer depends on a myriad of factors ranging from the return’s filing date to the resources the IRS can dedicate to processing returns.

The IRS successfully reduced processing delays in 2023 after struggling to issue refunds on time for a few years due to pandemic-related issues.

Even so, determining the exact date your tax refund will reach your bank account can be complicated even if all information on your return is accurate and you file the return before April 18, 2023, deadline.

This guide will provide the information you’ll need to estimate when to expect your tax refund and reveal why the IRS might delay issuing your refund.

When Does The Filing Season Start And End in 2023?

When Does The Filing Season Start And End in 2023

Taxpayers can file paper tax returns starting from January 1, 2023. Still, the filing season officially begins on January 23, 2023.

Processing time for paper returns is approximately four to six weeks, so the earliest you can expect your refund if you opt for this filing method is mid-February.

This year’s filing deadline was pushed to April 18 because April 15, the usual filing deadline, is a Saturday. Moreover, Monday 17 is Emancipation Holiday in Washington DC, while Massachusetts and Main celebrate Patriot’s Day on the same date.

As a result the IRS moved the filing deadline in 2023 to Tuesday, April 18. The average processing time is two to three weeks, although some early filers reported they received their refund just ten days after e-filing tax returns.

Like every year, the IRS urges taxpayers to file their 2022 returns early to avoid bottlenecks at the filing deadline.

Choosing The Right Time to File a Return

Choosing The Right Time to File a Return

E-filing your return as soon as the filing season starts will leave plenty of time to amend any tax return mistakes that could delay your refund.

However, 19 states offered inflation relief stimulus checks in 2022, including California, New Jersey, and Oregon, among others. So the best course of action is to wait for further information and avoid filing an amended return if you received a relief check in 2022.

The following factors affect when you can get your refund:

  • The filing date – Tax returns e-filed shortly after the beginning of the filing season are usually processed within the regular 21-day processing period.
  • Filing method – The IRS manually uploads all paper returns to its system, which results in slower processing time. Consequently, you’ll get your refund faster if you e-file your return.
  • Tax credits – The IRS needs additional time to determine if a taxpayer is eligible for tax credits he or she claimed on a return.
  • Outstanding federal tax debt – You may not receive your 2022 tax refund if you owe taxes to the federal government.

You should gather all the documents, such as income statements, tax deduction records, or social security documents, before you start to prepare your tax return. This will ensure all information on the return is accurate and decrease the chances of a processing delay.

Taxpayers who mail their tax returns to the IRS should factor in the processing time for paper returns when choosing the right moment to file them.

The IRS needs a few weeks to upload paper returns to the Individual Master File system and an additional couple of weeks to process them. Hence, you’ll likely get your refund in mid-April if you mail the return in late February or early March.

Processing Time For Tax Returns With EITC And CTC Claims

Filing a return early won’t necessarily ensure you’ll get your refund quickly if you claimed Earned Income Tax Credit or Child Tax Credit on your return.

The PATH (Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes) Act of 2015 prevents the IRS from issuing tax refunds to taxpayers who claim EICT or CTC on their returns before February 15.

So, the earliest refund date if you e-filed the return on the first day of the 2023 filing season and claimed these tax breaks would be February 28.

However, you may have to submit additional documents that prove your eligibility for these tax credits to the IRS, which will prolong the processing of your return and delay your refund.

You’ll receive a tax refund a month after filing a tax return with these tax credits if you choose to receive a paper check rather than a direct deposit to a bank account.

Tax Refund Schedule

It’s vital to understand that the date the IRS issues your refund and the date the refund reaches you aren’t the same. In most cases, you’ll have to wait five work days for the refund to arrive if you selected the direct deposit payment method.

Refund checks are sent by mail, and delivery usually takes one to two weeks. Let’s look at the tax refund schedule based on different filing and payment methods.

Filing and payment optionsE-file with direct depositE-file with a refund check Paper return with direct deposit Paper return with a refund check
Estimated tax refund time10 – 21 days 21 to 30 days 30 days or moreUp to eight weeks

Taxpayers who e-file their returns on January 23, 2023, and don’t claim EITC or CTC can expect to receive their refunds in mid-February. However, claiming these credits on a tax return will postpone the refund until late February.

The same logic applies to all other filing dates. For example, if you e-file a return between April 2 and April 8, you should expect your refund to be in your bank account around April 28. You may have to wait until May 5 if you want your refund to arrive on a paper check.

Applying For a Tax Extension

Applying For a Tax Extension

The IRS lets you extend the filing deadline until October 16, 2023, if you can’t collect all documents before the filing deadline.

You must request an extension before April 18 and settle all tax debt before this date. The IRS doesn’t require a justification for tax deadline extensions from taxpayers, as all requests are accepted automatically.

Still, you must fill out Form 4868 and file it with tax software such as TurboTax or send it to a local IRS office. Requesting a tax extension won’t affect your return’s processing time, and in most cases, you can expect to receive your refund in three weeks.

You can use Get Transcript, Where’s My Refund, and IRS2Go tools to keep track of your return’s status and determine the earliest date when the IRS might issue your refund.

Common Reasons For Tax Return Processing Delays

Common Reasons For Tax Return Processing Delays

The IRS will approve and issue your tax refund three weeks after you file your return in the best-case scenario.

However, the processing of your return could be put on hold if the IRS determines that the information you provided is insufficient or inaccurate.

Here are a few reasons the IRS might delay issuing your refund in 2023:

  • Additional identity confirmation.
  • Claiming ineligible dependents.
  • Mail or in-person IRS audit.
  • Tax fraud suspicion. 

Hence, you should dedicate extra attention to tax return preparation if you got married, purchased or sold a property, made investments, or had a child in 2022. Each event affects the information you must include on your tax return.

Hiring a professional tax preparer can help you avoid processing delays because you won’t have to calculate credits and liabilities on your own.

Frequently Asked Questions

What to Do If I Disagree with My Refund Amount?

You can submit Form 12203 to the IRS Independent Office of Appeals if you think your refund was incorrectly calculated.

Why is My Tax Refund Late?

Tax refunds can be late for various reasons. You must check your return’s status with the Where’s My Refund or Get Transcript tool to determine why the IRS needs additional time to approve your refund.

Will I Receive My Federal Tax Refund Before My State Tax Refund?

State tax refunds are generally issued before federal refunds. Still, the processing time depends on the state, so sometimes your federal refund might arrive before the state tax refund.

Does the IRS Pay Interest for Delayed Tax Refunds in 2023?

The IRS will pay interest if you don’t receive your tax refund 45 days after the April 18 filing deadline.

When to Expect Your Tax Refund in 2023?

The processing of your tax return will go smoothly if the information you provide is accurate. E-filing your return and choosing the direct deposit payment option will minimize the waiting time.

Hence your refund in 2023 should be approved and deposited to your account within a couple of weeks. Claiming tax credits or making a math error can delay your refund until you resolve the matter that caused the IRS to put the processing of your return on hold.

You should double-check all information on the tax return before filing if you want to ensure your refund will arrive on time.


Logan Allec, CPA

Logan is a practicing CPA and founder of Choice Tax Relief and Money Done Right. After spending nearly a decade in the corporate world helping big businesses save money, he launched his blog with the goal of helping everyday Americans earn, save, and invest more money. Learn more about Logan.

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