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How to check the status of your tax return & get transcripts
How to check the status of your tax return & get transcripts
Kirsten Simmons avatar
Written by Kirsten Simmons
Updated over a week ago

Table of contents:

No news is good news

When it comes to the IRS, no news is usually good news. By default, the IRS will not contact you to provide updates on your return status unless you specifically request it. If you are anticipating a refund and have not received it yet, you can verify the status of your refund through the IRS website or by calling them.

Note: you can only track the refund status for individual tax returns submitted within the current year or within the last six months of the previous year.

Timeline for IRS response after using Streamlined Procedures

It usually takes between 90 and 120 days for the IRS to process a Streamlined Procedure submission. You may, however, experience delays due to the IRS’s perennial backlog.

  • If you owed tax and sent in full payment with your returns, then you should expect to receive an additional bill for interest penalties if they were not included in the original payment. This is a good sign, as it indicates that your returns have been processed.

  • If you do not owe taxes, no communication will be received from the IRS. The IRS no longer sends Streamlined Program acceptance letters. If three months pass after filing and you have not heard from the IRS, you can reasonably assume that your application has been approved and your tax account is now in good standing.

Should the IRS require further documentation from you, you will receive a request about two months after filing. Below is an example of what a request for additional information might look like.

How to check the status of your federal refund

  1. On the IRS website, navigate to Get Your Refund Status > Check Your Refund.

  2. Enter your Social Security number or ITIN, select your filing status, and then type your exact refund amount as shown on your tax return.

  3. Click Submit.

Note: the online service may not be as reliable for foreign filers.

How to check the status of your state refund

Most state tax departments offer an online option to check the status of state returns. Locate your state tax department's website in the article State web portals for tax payments & refunds. For instance, if you filed a New York state return, you can create an account and check your return status online at

How to check the status of your amended tax return

On the IRS website, click Amended Return Status, and enter:

  • Social Security number.

  • Date of birth.

  • ZIP or Postal code.

How to call the IRS

Another option for checking on the status of your return is calling the dedicated IRS line for International Taxpayers at +1 (267) 941-1000 (not a toll-free number), 6:00 AM - 11:00 PM EST, Monday to Friday. Overseas taxpayers may also fax tax questions to +1 (681) 247-3101.

U.S. citizens can dial the IRS toll-free number +1 (800) 829-1040 to get answers to their federal tax questions 24 hours a day.

Note: you can use Google Hangouts to call U.S. numbers from abroad free of charge.

IRS refund statuses

After your return is e-filed, it goes through the following four statuses at the IRS:

  1. Return is e-filed: acceptance pending: Your return has not been processed yet. Generally, it takes 24-48 hours for the IRS to accept the return, or several days until the IRS processes the backlog of returns.

    Note: if the status "Being Processed" persists for several months, contact the IRS. There could be a clerical or mailing error. Additionally, delayed refunds for child credits typically arise from discrepancies in dependent details such as name, age, and Social Security number. Refer to Why is My Tax Refund Taking So Long? An Expat’s Guide to Navigating the IRS Maze for more information.

  2. Return is accepted: Your return has been verified by the IRS (the Social Security numbers are correct, your dependents haven't already been claimed, etc.). The government is ready to proceed with the refund and you may track your federal and/or state returns on the IRS website. Refund information is updated daily, generally overnight.


    • If you send your return by mail, it will usually be accepted by the IRS within four weeks.

    • Until your return is accepted, you may get a "No record found" error message when searching for it. Check back a day or two after your return has been received, and it should be available.

    • If TFX e-filed your return, you will receive confirmation that it has been accepted within two days. Once we receive the confirmation notice from the IRS, we will upload it to your client cabinet. To view the confirmation notice, navigate to Documents > Instructions & Confirmations, then click Preview.

  3. Refund is approved: If you expect to receive a refund, the IRS usually takes around three weeks to process the return once it is accepted.

  4. Refund is sent/deposited: If the refund is approved, the IRS will send/deposit your refund.

IRS letter: Issues with prior returns

If your tax return was not approved by the IRS and you received an IRS letter, TFX will assist you in resolving the issue. It is worth noting that 5% of all tax returns submitted to the IRS are not approved. Submit a Previous Return Issue Report in your TFX portal to resolve issues with your prior returns.

How to order a transcript

On the IRS website, you can order copies of tax records including transcripts of past tax returns, tax account information, wage and income statements, and verification of non-filing letters. Ordering a tax transcript from the IRS does not mean you will get your refund faster. IRS tax transcripts are most commonly used to validate income and tax filing statuses for mortgages, student, and small business loan applications and to help with tax preparation.

There are different kinds of transcripts that you can request via Form 4506-T. Most requests will be processed within ten business days:

  • Return transcript includes most of the line items of a tax return as filed with the IRS. A tax return transcript does not reflect changes made to the account after the return is processed. Transcripts are only available for the following returns: Form 1040 series, Form 1065, Form 1120, Form 1120-A, Form 1120-H, Form 1120-L, and Form 1120S. Return transcripts are available for the current year, and returns are processed during the prior three processing years.

  • Account transcript contains information on the financial status of the account, such as payments made on the account, penalty assessments, and adjustments made by you or the IRS after the return was filed. Return information is limited to tax liability and estimated tax payments. Account transcripts are available for most returns.

  • The account record provides the most detailed information combining the Return Transcript and the Account Transcript. Available for the current year and three prior tax years.

  • Verification of non-filing is proof from the IRS that you did not file a return for the year. Current year requests are only available after June 15th. There are no availability restrictions on prior-year requests.

  • Form W-2, Form 1099 series, Form 1098 series, or Form 5498 series transcript. The IRS can provide a transcript that includes data from these information returns. State or local information is not included with the Form W-2 information. The IRS may be able to provide this transcript information for up to 10 years. The current year's data is generally unavailable until the year after it is filed with the IRS. For example, W-2 information for 2022, filed in 2023, will likely not be available from the IRS until 2024. If you need W-2 information for retirement purposes, contact the Social Security Administration at +1 (800) 772-1213 (toll-free), 8:00 AM - 7:00 PM EST, Monday to Friday.

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