Average IRS and State Tax Refund and Processing Times – Updated for 2020-2021 Tax Season

The table below shows the average IRS federal refund payment over the last few years.. This is based on IRS filing statistics and can change over time as late filings or refunds are processed.

Tax Season (Tax Year-Filing Year)
Average IRS Refund
2020-2021 (current tax season)
$2,860 (estimated)
2019-2020
$2,549
2018-2019
$2,870
2017-2018
$2,895
2016-2017
$2,860
 Here is more refund information from the bigger online tax providers – > TurboTax ; TaxAct

Generally, if you e-file and use direct deposit, the IRS estimates that you should receive your federal refund between 8 and 21 days after they accept your return, unless the IRS does not send you a notification requesting additional information or an audit notice). The IRS has stated that it issues more than 90 percent of refunds within 21 days (see estimated refund schedule).

Also note that for the current tax season the IRS has announced that there will likely be tax refund payment delays. In particular for taxpayers claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) refunds may not be processed until a few weeks into the tax season in order to perform further identity verification checks.

If you did not select the electronic deposit option, getting a paper check mailed to you adds about a week.  If your return was filed by mail, then your refund can take 4 to 6 weeks from the date the IRS receives a complete and accurate return. Once your return is accepted by the IRS, the IRS processes your refund based on the IRS E-file Refund Cycle Chart. Exact refund dates are based on IRS processing times and can be found in IRS Publication 2043 and IRS Topic 152 for both e-filed and mailed returns.

To find out online when the IRS currently expects to issue your refund, check the IRS “Where’s My Refund?” tool or IRS2Go mobile application which  is updated every night (3am to 6am EST) You’ll need to provide the following information from your tax return : social security number, filing status and the exact whole dollar amount of your expected refund.

Should I call the IRS if I haven’t received my refund?

Unfortunately calling the IRS won’t do anything to speed your refund since their call center staff are not the ones who process the (over 140 million) tax returns. The best option is still to use  check the “Where’s My Refund” page or IRS2Go application. See this article for how the IRS WMR and IRS2Go works and what each status means. If you do need to talk to a real IRS agent, this article contains some useful numbers based on what has worked for others.

When to Expect Your State Tax Refund

State refunds are processed by each individual state, so processing times will vary. As a general rule, you can expect your state tax refund within 30 days of the electronic filing date or the postmark date. To get the current status of your state tax refund, contact your state tax agency or search online for your state’s taxation website. See the table for some standard state refund processing times. Processing begins when the return is received and ends when we post the refund to your account. I will update as states release their latest processing cycle times.

Latest update : The IRS is conducting significantly more ID verification checks to deal with the increase in online tax fraud, which is also causing state tax agencies to add additional security measures resulting in delays in state tax refunds. For example, Hawaii’s taxpayers could see state refunds delayed, while a number of states are telling tax payers not to expect refund before March 1st.

StateE-FILED Return, Average Refund Processing TimePAPER Filed Return, Average Refund Processing TimeState Refund Checker
Arizona (AZ)Within 10 days of filingUp to 12 weeksAZ Check Refund Status
California (CA)Up to 2 weeks10 - 12 weeksCA Check Your Refund
Georgia (GA)30-45 business daysUp to 6 weeksGA WMR Site
Illinois (IL)2-3 weeks6 to 8 weeksIL Refund Checker
Louisiana (LA)Up to 60 days12 to 14 weeksLA Refund Status
Ohio (OH)Within 1 week6 to 8 weeksOH Check My Refund
Kentucky (KY)2-3 weeks8 to 12 weeksKY Refund Checker
Maryland (MD)Within 1 week~ 30 days to processMD Refund Checker
Michigan (MI)14 days6 to 8 weeksMichigan Taxes
New Jersey (NJ)4+ weeks12+ weeksNJ Refund Status Service
New York (NY)Up to 3 weeksUp to 6 weeksNYC Refund Checker
North Carolina (NC)Up to 8 weeksUp to 12 weeksNC Where is My Refund
Pennsylvania (PA)Up to 4 weeks8-10 weeksPA WMR Site
Utah (UT)7 to 21 daysUp to 90 daysUT Refund Checker
Virginia (VA)Up to 4 weeksUp to 8 weeksVA Refund Checker
Wisconsin (WI) Up to 4 weeksUp to 12 weeksWI Refund 123
Average Refund by State
Average Refund by State (Source : Business Insider)

I’m not going to be able to file my taxes in time. What should I do? If you can’t make that mid April deadline for filing your taxes then file an extension. The IRS says it received requests for 11 million extensions, which amounts to about 8% of all tax returns. Taxpayers who ask for an extension get an extra six months to file—your new deadline will be in mid October.  However you still need to make any expected tax liability payments. See this article for more details and restrictions on filing an extension.

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175 thoughts on “Average IRS and State Tax Refund and Processing Times – Updated for 2020-2021 Tax Season”

  1. The IRS is conducting significantly more ID verification checks to deal with the increase in online tax fraud, which is also causing state tax agencies to add additional security measures resulting in delays in state nj tax refund.

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  2. Filed Illinois and Federal taxes Feb. 23rd, 2020. Both returns accepted within hours. Received federal refund within two weeks. It’s April 24th, 61 days since IL return was accepted and it’s still “processing”. No information provided. No contact info listed. IL advises tax payers to just wait. We are instructed NOT to call as we will be told nothing because the reps know nothing and cannot provide any info. Why are we paying for them to show up and know nothing? What ARE they doing on our dime? Seems the blue-er the state the longer the wait.

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  3. I filed my taxes in February. Got my fed return fairly quickly. It is now June 18th and i have still not received my state tax refund. I’m in NY. This is absolutely ridiculous. This has never happened before. I sent my w2’s AGAIN through my tax preparer and still nothing!

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  4. I filed my taxes Jan 19. Feb 12th I got a letter stating I had to verify my identity . I verified that day. They told me if I haven’t received my money within 9 weeks to call them back. of course I didn’t get my money so I called, the lady I spoke to made me re-verify because the first time I verified the girl never took the hold off my return. I re-verified on April 12th and they said it could be another 9 weeks. I keep checking everyday and the status never changes. still being processed. its now 4/25/19

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  5. Called IRS, and NOTE that the only IRS call I made was for the following reasons:

    1. FIRST IRS PHONE CALL: FEBRUARY 6, 2019, which is what the WMR site says “to call for a status update when its over 21-days since your return it was accepted”. IRS agent advised to call back on MARCH 12, 2019 because my file was pulled for review and to give IRS time to process my return.

    2. SECOND IRS PHONE CALL: Called after 21+ days, around February 20, 2019, (earlier than March 12, 2019) which is what WMR site still say to call 21-days after processing which I assumed would be January 28, 2019. IRS agent did some research and asked to call NOT ON MARCH 12, 2019 BUT on MARCH 13, 2019. I have a record of the agents ID number.

    3. THIRD IRS PHONE CALL: Called 1-week early, MARCH 6, 2019 to check if there’s any update on my return, and the IRS agent said that my file was just inputted, TAKE NOTE, “inputted” into the system, NOT PROCESSED but “INPUTTED” on MARCH 2nd, 2019. And asked to wait 21-days before I call again or keep checking WMR site or my bank account for a direct deposit since I did an e-file. I asked the IRS agent if there’s anything I need to do or if there is any mails from IRS that is going out for me to fill-out or any action-items on my part, she said “No, you do not have to do anything but wait.” She was nice enough to say that there’s nothing that the IRS needs from me and nicely enough to say just wait.

    On MARCH 25, 2019, it’ll be 23-days from MARCH 2nd, 2019 where the IRS explicitly said that my return was “INPUTTED” into the system. CURRENT STATUS as of MARCH 21, 2019 4:30PM eastern time: Logging into my IRS Account, it says: “Your 2018 tax return has not been processed.”

    All I need to know is what’s going on with my return. And based on IRS Freedom of Information (https://www.irs.gov/privacy-disclosure/irs-freedom-of-information), where it says:

    “Enacted in 1966, the Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA, gives any person the right to access federal agency records or information. The FOIA is based on the presumption that the government and its information belong to the people.

    A 1996 amendment to the FOIA, required federal agencies to make many types of records available online. Visit the IRS FOIA Library to learn more.

    New law, like the Open Government Act (PDF), as well as new policies, such as those issued by the President and the Attorney General, promote the spirit of transparency envisioned by our founding fathers.”

    So I’m guessing, that coming direct from the IRS should at thge very least update me even the very basic information I need regarding whats going on with my 2018 return and not just say a generic message: “Your 2018 tax return has not been processed.”

    Not sure what to do at this point, since every call to the IRS just keep delaying my return and they wont even give any specific information on whats happening. I dont mind getting a NEGATIVE return and paying whatever amount of money they asked me to, all I need to know is what to do to prepare for whats coming next.

    Thanks and hope someone who reads this can help give some lawful advice.


    Raffy

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  6. i filed my taxes end of jan, me and my wife and claimed a dependent. i live in fl and i recieved the email stating they accepted it but it still shows your refund is being processed and its march 16. what’s the hold up?

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    • Did you mean it’s Feb 16th. I have 2 dependents and usually get mine the first week of March every year and I file mine by the end of January every year.

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  7. I filed my federal and NY taxes on Feb 4th and still haven’t heard or seen any kind of update on them. I got my federal refund two weeks ago, NY is sitting on refunds for some reason.

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    • i filed my taxes jan 20, 2020
      i got my federal…. 10 weeks now and state is still processing !
      Whats up with New York ?
      i called and got nowhere !
      the lady at the other end said …You’ll have to wait !

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  8. For those of you who are not receiving your refund within the allotted time you can search the internal revenue code to find additional interest that is owed to you by regulations found within.

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  9. I filed I filed my income tax the end of January beginning of February I got my federal back but I’m still waiting on my state tax I’ve been trying to get information on what the holdup is of my state income tax I received the letter that they needed more information I sent the information and still today as of July 6 I still have not received my state income trying to figure out how do I go about trying to find out what the holdup is about my state income tax could you please help me and direct me in the right way in order to find out what the status is cuz I sent them all the information they needed and still today I have not heard anything thank you Donald Brown

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  10. I filed april 14th ,recieved my federal and wisconsin refunds with in 14 days it’s now june 21st still waiting for my minnesota return

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  11. Ti filed electronically in the beginning of February and it still says they received my returned and being processed no date of when it will b deposited

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  12. I live in Austin Texas I filed taxes through TurboTax on February 3rd it’s already going to be May and I still have not received my refund.

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  13. I live in AR. Both my Fed and AR returns were accepted 3/14. I received my Fed refund 3/21 by direct deposit. Today is 4/6 and I still do not have my AR refund. I have called two days ago to make sure it was approved and there were no issues, since I did have problems submitting it through Turbo Tax this year. They said everything looked fine and was verified, so I guess I’m just waiting till they decide to send me my money.
    I have no idea.
    Anyone know the refund cycle for Arkansas direct deposit?

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  14. Damn Shirley I hope my state taxes come today. I’m n Maryland & it been a week my federal says its still processing, my refund amount is there but the status bar not. Its says its processing but a refund date will b provided when available like wat dat means???

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  15. Originally I filed both Fed & State returns through Turbo Tax at the earliest possible time for WI 2016 (Mid January). I was then informed that my return was rejected because one of my kids had been claimed by both parents. Following further review, this was not the case. His SS# was in fact on both returns, however, he was only claimed by me for Child Tax Credit purposes, as both of us alternate years that we claim our dependents. This required an amended return be submitted which I completed sometime in February. Following amending the return, and 24 weeks of waiting, (along with numerous phone calls to the IRS that are absolutely a waste of time because you never actually get an answer…or a person for that matter) I went directly to the IRS building. I was then informed that the reason there was no record of my amended return was that I had never submitted an original return, therefore my amended return was just thrown away basically. I would now have to mail in my original return that I had tried e-filing back in February. Please keep in mind that this back and forth has been going on since February. It is now October 27th, 2017 and although the “Where’s My Refund” tool, which I check daily, finally says that my refund has been received, that is where it has stayed for the past 3 weeks. What is the deal?! I am 2 months from filing for 2017 now and I still don’t have my refund for 2016? I am a single father of 3 kids as well as a hard working, tax paying U.S. Citizen. This refund that I have been waiting on is my hard earned money. When I owned my business and was late on my sales tax payment by 3 months, it turned into nearly triple the original bill due to penalties and interest. If I owed taxes and didn’t pay by April 18th, I would be penalized greatly. Why is the IRS not forced to pay me penalties and interest on the money that they owe me? I would like some answers, but I would really like my refund. How much longer is it going to take being that it is now 9 months after I originally sent the same information that I have now re-sent? It is not a busy tax time as far as I am aware. Please provide me with some answers. Thank you.

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  16. I mailed by State tax to Hawaii on Feb 16 and it is now August 5 and still no return. When I called they said maybe it got lost so sent another on registered mail and still not response. Where is the accountability as this is just not fair.

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  17. It is ridiculous how these states are holding refunds. I filed for the first time with the state of Illinois back in March and the status has been stating received and being processed for the last five weeks. WTF if I owed them they would be writing me.

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  18. I filed my Minnesota state taxes April 11th and I still have not received the refund it it has been over a hundred days what is with Minnesota they got their heads up their butts I call and they know it’s still processing it’s been processing for over 3 months this is ridiculous somebody needs to step in and do something you call but they don’t have any answers because they’re not the ones who work on the taxes perhaps we should actually talk to people who do the work or part of me don’t do the work

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  19. Got the federal fast, still waiting on Georgia state and was accepted 1/28/2017 and web site and phone call and still nothing more than “being processed”.
    Never had this much trouble before, clearly the Georgia DOR needs to be cleaned up, MAJOR fail this year.

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  20. Filed NC April 1, it was accepted. It’s been stuck in stage 1 now for almost 2 months. Does anybody know what’s going on with NC tax refunds? This is utterly ridiculous!

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    • I filed end of January, received my federal return mid-February and my NC state refund has been processing in stage 1 since mid-March. Others I know that filed at the same time have received theirs, impossible to get anyone on the phone…and forget the compensation for it taking more than 45 days past your file date, nobody I know has seen any extra $$$. Beyond irritating….

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  21. Um I live in mass and filed my state taxes by mail maybe ten days too late from the due date in april. It is June 5th now and it still says th ey haven’t received me state. What do I do who do i call?

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  22. I filed both April 9 from Minnesota. My state is still checking for accuracy. Getting kind of irritated because since I filed late I would have expected it back with no delays. Wtf and every time I call just says I don’t know

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  23. Why are some state taking a long time to complete state refund? and it take them less then one week to accept refund? Aren’t they doing the same thing just reviewing it again? I don’t understand what else are they doing? And it shouldn’t take more then 8 weeks just to review and account after id verification, if it took them 1-5 days to accept all refund that mean they should accept within another week with a complete refund. My refund status been sitting for 2 weeks after id verification I’m not filing federal tax I’m filing homestead Credit witch means federal don’t care spoke to them they said they have nothing to do with state so again why is my homestead taking for ever it’s not like I’m waiting for the whole USA it’s just a state homestead credit tax it’s should have been here Monday but called my state Monday and she said wait 12 weeks how when I e-filed and direct deposit with American Express the fastest way to get direct deposit I really was supposed to get on Friday but no Date or no letter in the mail and status still some can someone give me advice or something I wish I was rich so I won’t have to worry about it and just e-file without having to worry because I have money. When I get that refund it’s going into investment because this is a whole bunch of nonsense

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  24. I filed around Jan 18 and still no refund. Close to 4 months now.
    Got my state refund within 2-3 weeks but the big one is still pending. It sucks.. Maybe I should pay taxes at the end instead of waiting for a return.

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    • What time do u know that ur state refund hit ur account. My state refund status says 5/25 I was just curious as of timing

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  25. My husband and I filed our taxes back in January of this year we did e-file. We recieved our fed refund but haven’t received our state(Utah) refund. It says it has been recieved and is processing. I have called but they were very rude & said you have to wait. What is going on??? We need our money !!!!

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  26. I filed feb8th and got federal back within the time frame, march 1st i got a letter saying i needed to send the state(NY) a copy of w2 and so i did and 2 months now i still havent recieved anything! Ridiculous. And it was e-filed

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  27. I think the money is being used to build the wall or start the new Trump Care. LOL I don’t know anyone who has received their refund.

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    • Wrong, this tax delay started in 2009 1 year after Obama came in office and is just finally getting corrected by trump. 40 percent of people’s were delayed every year for 7 years and it dropped to only 10 percent 1 year after trump came in and is suppose to be down to 5 percent this year in 2019..

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  28. I filed my taxes ( both federal and state) via turbo tax on 4/7 I got my federal 4/19 and as of today 5/2 my State refund went from “checking for accuracy” to ” being processed”. I’m in Minnesota.

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  29. I e-filed my taxes on Feb 4 with state of a Mass, says they are accepted and being processed..it is now April 11th and still have not received my state return, has this happened to anyone else in Massachusetts?

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    • yea feb 3 I filed and its the 19th called 2 weeks it was still being reviewed. that’s all they said no letter or notice , I have debt to pay and bills would be nice to get a courtesy notice at least

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    • I got my federal on the 3rd of this month but I’m still waiting for my state refund. When I check it says “it’s being processed” I was giving them until the end of this week I’ll be calling Monday to see what excuse they give me.

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  30. My husband filed his taxes in early February he got his fed back but not his state yet they said it should’ve been sent out Feb 14 but here it’s April 13and still no check here in Mississippi any comments on when he’ll get his money

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  31. My states (Colorado) website told me my state tax return was mailed out on March 7th to The address I gave them. I e-filed on turbo tax. It’s now April 11th and I still havent gotten my return. Does anyone know if this is normal to wait this long or if I should have another one issued???

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    • I filed 2/8 and am still waiting. According to their site, its processing in stage one and should take up to 15 days but it’s been in stage one for 3 weeks now. My friend filed his 2/4 and got his refund 2 weeks ago. So I don’t know what NC is doing. Probably ran out of money.

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  32. I filed my taxes last week of January 2017 and still haven’t received my state taxes for Minnesota. When I check on them it says, checking for accuracy. It’s been 11 weeks and I e-filed. what is going on???

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    • Same as me I filed on Feb 10th and still checking for accuracy I don’t get it I’ve called numerous times to be told it’s just taking longer this year

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      • Same here. I filed on February 13th and got my federal back but not my state. Isn’t there a certain amount of weeks that they have to give it back?

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      • My MN just moved off of checking for accuracy to processing refund does anyone know how long it takes for them to send the refund actually???

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        • Janay….could I ask when you filed yours? Curious as I filed mine beginning of February and it is still in the review phase. It is so unfair of the state to do this to tax payers…if we were owing money, they would have wanted it yesterday or else…ya know? ugh…just frustrating….hope yours works out okay for you! :)

  33. I filed on 2/10 and I still haven’t received any of my state taxes, and it will be 60 days on Monday ugh and I never have had to wait this long for my state

    Reply

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