There is a lot of focus around this time of the year on folk’s federal IRS tax return and refund status, but just as many people need to worry about one or more state income tax returns.
In fact for the current tax season, while IRS processing delays are well documented, many states are also facing challenges paying out refunds due to various new tax credits, unemployment payments reconciliation and backlogs of amended returns.
Every state has their own guidance and policies around return & refund processing timelines, so I thought I would provide a consolidated list of links for the different states tax department websites where you can get all the state related tax and refund information.
Most online tax software providers state tax filing options when filing your federal return, but for some of the more complicated returns the state’s tax website is a useful reference source.
State Refund Status
Also if you are wondering what the latest status of you state refund is, then click on the links to the respective state tax websites in the table below to get your state refund status.
However you should wait 24 to 48 hours after filing your federal and state return before trying to determine your state refund status since federal and state tax systems take a while to pass information between each other.
If you filed a paper return you should wait up to 30 days after filing to check status, due to the manual processing required around paper returns. That’s why online/e-filing is always recomended.
You will generally need your social security number, mailing address. and refund amount shown on your tax return to be able to get your refund status information. See this article for checking your federal tax refund status.
Checking the Status of your Amended State Tax Return
Like amended federal tax returns, amended state tax returns are processed separately (e.g. manually) and in most cases will have a separate site or phone number to call at your state’s tax oversight agency.
Average State Tax Refund Processing Times
While federal IRS guidelines, say most refunds are processed within 21 days, processing times for state tax refunds vary by state, but as a guideline and assuming no issues with your tax return filing then you should get your return 7-14 days if you e-filed your return.
For paper returns, it can take 6 to 12 weeks from the date you mailed your return to get your refund. So e-filing is clearly the way to go if you want your refund faster.
Are State Tax Refunds Subject to PATH?
The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) was enacted by Congress a few years ago and specifies that the IRS must hold the entire refund — even the portion not associated with the the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) — until at least three weeks after the IRS starts processing returns (after Feb 15th).
Technically state tax refunds are not subject to PATH, since this is a federal act enforced by the IRS. However given how intertwined your state and federal tax return is when it comes to income, exemptions, deductions and dependents it is rare to see them filed separately.
It is however common that if both your state and federal are filed accurately, your state refund could be approved and paid well before your federal refund from the IRS.
Checking Your State Refund Status
Find your state in the table below to check your refund status. Check the states’ refund tracker online tool first and if that doesn’t hep then call to get a live agent for specific inquiries related to your return.
When do States Update Refund Statuses?
This will depend on a state-by-state basis and is often subject to system and staffing limitations. But like the IRS and it’s WMR/IRS2Go system updates, most status will update at most once a day and/or when the processing status refreshes or moves to a different stage.
Will Calling a Live Representative Help? Do they have more information?
While it is comforting to talk to a live person, most state tax agency representations have access to the exact same information as provided in the refund status tools. They can however provide more general insight into processing delays since they are exposed to many more cases and are more aware of certain trends (e.g. XYZ tax credit is holding up refunds)
Why are State Tax Refunds Delayed?
Generally returns requesting certain tax credits that have a higher chance of being subject to fraud (like dependent stimulus or unemployment payments) will likely require additional reviews
Filing errors due to missing or incorrect information are also likely to delay refund payments.
Further if you claim a credit you aren’t eligible for, your return may take months longer to process; due to additional verification and dealing with requests for supporting information.