Here are some useful articles and videos around the 2023-2024 Tax Season Calendar and corresponding estimated IRS Refund schedule
- The 2024 tax calendar and when taxpayers can file their federal and state tax returns (or request an extension)
- IRS Refund Schedule – When you can expect your refund to be paid
- IRS Refund Processing Timeline and WMR Status’ (Received, Approved, Sent)
- Your IRS transcript and refund processing
I’ll be looking at 3 topics today. The first is when you can file your 2022 taxes in 2023. This includes when the IRS accepts tax returns for processing, deadlines for filing and other key dates during the tax season.
I’ll then provide a quick recap of how the IRS processes refunds and expected timelines.
Finally, I’ll cover the estimated IRS refund schedule, based on past tax seasons and potential delays we may see again. This should give you a good idea of when you can expect to receive your refund.
Key Dates for Tax Season
So, let’s now look at some of the key dates for the tax season. Some of these dates may change based on last minute IRS updates and I’ll post a link to the latest table and key dates.
The tax season will technically open on January 3rd the first working day of the year. However, this is just the day that the tax season opens and not when the IRS accepts filings – electronic or paper based.
The actual date the IRS will start accepting returns is probably going to be around Jan 23rd.. The official IRS processing date may change plus or minus a few days based on last minute IRS system updates, but this is around the time when the IRS will generally start accepting E filed returns through online tax providers.
Any paper-based returns will likely be processed a few weeks or days later as they’re uploaded into the IRS systems. Which is why I recommend e-filing as that is the most error free and fastest way to get your tax refund.
However, it won’t be until the end of January or February 1st when most people have all their key tax forms (like W2 and 1099s) from their employers, banks, financial institutions or other third-party payment processors.
Many taxpayers would need to wait until after this date to file their tax return because they will need a lot of the information provided in these forms.
The next key date is going to be around mid February. This is generally when the PATH act restriction lifts. This restriction is a legal requirement that prevents the IRS from sending out refund payments for those taxpayers claiming the earned income credit or the additional child tax credit.
Even if your refund is processed and refund was approved, it will not be paid until after this date.
It generally takes until the end of February for PATH delayed refund payments to be sent out, which unfortunately causes a lot of consternation for impacted early tax filers who face an extended delay in getting their refund. I have a whole video and article on the PATH act which I will post links to in the description below
April 18th is tax day or basically the last regular day to file a federal and state income tax return or submit a request for a filing extension. However, if you owe any taxes, you still must pay it or an estimated amount by this date to avoid penalties and interest for any overdue amounts.
April 18th is also going to be the last day that you can make qualified contributions to retirement accounts (like IRAs) or health saving accounts for the 2022 calendar year. These are tax advantage accounts that allow you to lower your taxable income so I recommend contributing if you can.
The one exception to the April 18th filing date is for U.S. citizens or residents living abroad, who get an automatic two-month extension to file their taxes by June 15th. Note however this is just a filing extension and any actual or estimated taxes due must be paid by April 18th.
October 18th is when filings are due for approved extensions. Remember that an extension to file is not an extension to pay, so any overdue taxes should be paid as soon as possible.
The tax season officially ends in November, but current and prior year returns, including Amended returns, will continue to be processed and refunds paid where applicable.
How IRS Refund Processing Works
Before I talk about the estimated IRS refund schedule and when you could see your refund payment, I wanted to quickly touch on how the IRS will process your tax return and how long refund payments will take to be made if everything goes according to their standard schedule.
There basically three steps that you need to be aware of which is how your refund status is reflected in the IRS’ Where is My Refund (WMR) website or IRS2Go mobile app.
The first processing stage is when you submit your tax return. If submitted electronically via an online tax software package like TurboTax, your return will be directly uploaded to the IRS systems.
After initial processing and checks and you should then be able to see the status of your return as received on the IRS tool within 24 to 48 hours. Paper returns could take up to 2 weeks to show up as received by the IRS
The next main stage is where the bulk of the IRS processing takes place to reconcile your return with information the IRS has from other sources and to validate your refund payment. This can take anywhere from two to five days after submission.
If the refund is approved by the IRS system and there’s nothing that raises red flags or requires additional reviews, the refund is approved and the status on the WMR tool will change to refund approved.
Depending on which IRS processing cycle you are in your refund will be sent to your bank account via direct deposit within a day or two or via paper check in a week. The IRS says that 9 out of 10 returns should be processed in this standard manner within 21 days.
Based on past tax seasons, a lot of folks do get their refunds sooner, but many millions also get it much later if their return is flagged or if their returns are held up to various other reasons (like the Path Act, or IRS processing delays).
Now that you understand the general process the IRS follows, I’ll talk about some estimated dates for when you could see your refund payment after filing your tax return.
2023 IRS Refund Schedule Table
Now that you know when you can file your tax return and you understand how IRS processing works, I am going to talk about when taxpayers could see refund payments in 2023.
This tax refund schedule table is based on past year schedules and IRS processing guidelines. It is organized in three columns driven by when your tax return filing is successfully received by the IRS, which then drives the dates for when the refund is approved and eventually sent to you via direct deposit or pre-paid debit cards.
You can see here that the first column shows the Friday week ending date for when the return is received. This includes all dates for that week. Generally, if the returned is received during that week it will be paid it will be processed by the following week if no issues are found as shown in the second column on the table
The actual refund payment is sent a few days after the refund is approved and the status is set to refund sent in the WMR tool. Mailed check payments could take 1 to 2 weeks longer than the direct deposit payment date.
You can see an example here where a return was received by the IRS during the week ending March 3rd. If the filing is validated and all goes to schedule the refund status will change to refund approved the following week, by March 10th.
Exact dates will depend on your specific IRS processing cycle which I’ve covered in a separate video, for which I’ll post a link here and, in the description, below.
If no issues with your direct deposit or payment information, you should then see your refund payment by March 14th . Again, these are just indicative dates to help you figure out when you could get your refund payment. The IRS will provide specific date ranges in their systems and transcripts once your refund status is updated to sent.
If your return is held up by the PATH act, you will not see a refund until late February at the earliest. The delays could be much longer if additional checks or manual reviews are needed by the IRS.
Your WMR status may sit at return received for a while, until the refund is approved and paid. In these cases, I recommend you review your tax transcript.
Finally note that amended returns also have a different schedule which I have discussed in earlier videos.