Tax Refund Approved: How Long to Show in Bank Account

Waiting for that tax refund to hit your bank account can feel like an eternity. On average, taxpayers can expect their refunds within 21 days after the IRS approves their return. This blog walks you through the timeline from approval to deposit, so you know just when to look for your cash boost.

Keep reading – it’s simpler than you think!

Key Takeaways

  • On average, tax refunds are deposited within 21 days after the IRS approves an e – filed return with direct deposit.
  • Errors, filing a paper return, or claiming certain tax credits can delay your refund past the typical 21-day window.
  • Use “Where’s My Refund?” or the IRS2Go app to track your refund; allow 24 hours for e-files and four weeks for mailed returns before checking.
  • Direct deposit is faster than mailed checks; it takes 1 – 5 additional business days for bank processing once the IRS sends it out.
  • If there’s a delay in getting your refund, check your status online and look out for IRS notices that might ask for more information.

Understanding the Tax Refund Approval Process

The IRS plays a crucial role in the tax refund approval process, and there are various factors that can influence the time it takes for your refund to be approved. From submission method to errors on your return, these factors play into the overall timeline for approval.

The role of the IRS

IRS agents check your tax return for any mistakes. They make sure everything adds up right and follows the tax laws. Once they finish checking, they approve your refund. After approval, the IRS starts the process of sending you your money.

They use details from your tax return to decide how to send the refund. If you choose direct deposit, they send it straight to your bank account. For mailed checks, they print and mail a check to you.

The IRS works hard so most people get their refunds on time.

Also read: Where Can I Cash My Tax Refund Check

Factors influencing the approval time

The IRS handles your tax refund after you file your taxes. Many things can affect how fast they approve it. Here are some factors that can change the approval time:

  • The way you fileE-filing can speed up the process while mailing in a paper return might slow it down.
  • Accuracy of your tax return: Mistakes or missing information can delay approval as the IRS will need more time to fix them.
  • Tax credits claimed: Certain credits like Earned Income Tax Credit or Additional Child Tax Credit might take longer to review.
  • Filing early or late: Sending your taxes in early may result in quicker processing, but late filings could get stuck behind others.
  • IRS backlog: Sometimes, the IRS has many returns to go through, which can slow down the process for everyone.
  • Identity theft or fraud concerns: If there’s a suspicion of fraud, the IRS will need extra time to verify your identity and information.
  • Amended returns: If you have to correct your tax return, expect delays as amended returns take longer to process.

Expected Duration for Tax Refund Approval

The standard timeline for tax refund approval can vary depending on factors such as the filing method and any errors or discrepancies in the return. Delays in tax refund approval can also impact the expected duration for receiving your refund.

Standard timeline for tax refund approval

The IRS usually processes tax refunds quickly. If you e-file and choose direct deposit, you get your refund faster.

  • You should expect your refund within 21 days after the IRS accepts your return.
  • E – filing with direct deposit is the quickest option for receiving your refund.
  • Paper returns take longer to process, so refunds can take up to six weeks.
  • Refund times may vary if there are mistakes or missing information on your return.
  • During peak times, like right after tax day, refunds might take a little longer.
  • If you claim certain tax credits, such as Earned Income Tax Credit, the IRS will not issue your refund before mid-February.

Also read: How To Cash A Check Without A Bank Account

Delays in tax refund approval

If there are issues with your tax return or additional verification is needed, it can result in delays in the approval of your tax refund.

  1. Errors on the tax return such as incorrect personal information, mathematical mistakes, or missing signatures can cause delays as the IRS may need to review and correct these issues.
  2. Claiming certain tax credits or deductions that require further scrutiny by the IRS could cause delays as they may need additional time to verify eligibility.
  3. Incomplete documentation or supporting evidence for income, expenses, or deductions can lead to delays as the IRS may request more information before approving the refund.
  4. Filing a paper return instead of e-filing can potentially slow down the process, as manual processing generally takes longer than electronic filing methods.
  5. High volume of refund requests during peak tax season can also lead to processing bottlenecks and consequently delay approval times.

How to Check Your Refund Status

To check the status of your tax refund, you can use the “Where’s My Refund?” tool on the IRS website or download the IRS2Go mobile app for easy access to your refund information. These tools allow you to track the progress of your tax refund and keep you informed about when it will be deposited into your bank account.

Using the “Where’s My Refund?” tool

Access the “Where’s My Refund?” tool on the official IRS website to track your tax refund status. Enter specific details, including your Social Security Number, filing status, and exact refund amount for accurate results.

Keep in mind that updates are only available once a day, typically overnight. Utilize this user-friendly tool to gain peace of mind about the progress of your tax refund.

If you e-filed your tax return, allow at least 24 hours after the IRS acknowledges receipt before using this tracking system. For paper filers, it may take around four weeks from the mailing date to appear in the system.

Utilizing the IRS2Go mobile app

Check your tax refund status conveniently by utilizing the IRS2Go mobile app. Download and install the app from your device’s app store, then enter your Social Security number, filing status, and exact refund amount to track the progress of your tax refund.

Receive real-time updates on when you can expect your money to show up in your bank account using this user-friendly tool.

Accessing the IRS2Go mobile app allows you to stay informed about any changes or issues with your tax refund processing time. By using this direct method, you can efficiently monitor and manage the progress of your income tax return approval right from the palm of your hand.

Also read: How Long Does An ACH Transfer Take

Direct Deposit vs Mailed Check Refunds

When it comes to receiving your tax refund, understanding the timeline for direct deposit refunds and mailed check refunds is important. Direct deposit refunds generally have a faster expected timeline compared to mailed check refunds.

Expected timeline for direct deposit refunds

  • Direct deposit refunds are typically processed within 21 days of the IRS accepting your tax return.
  • Once approved, the IRS sends the refund to your bank, which may take an additional 1 – 5 business days for it to appear in your account.
  • Direct deposit offers a faster option compared to mailed check refunds.
  • The electronic funds transfer ensures a quicker delivery into your bank account.
  • Using this method reduces the overall time it takes for your refund to show in your bank account.

Reason for mailed check refunds instead of direct deposit

Mailed check refunds are issued when the IRS encounters issues with the direct deposit method. This could be due to inaccurate bank account information, or if a taxpayer has requested direct deposit but their financial institution doesn’t accept electronic deposits.

In such cases, the IRS opts for a mailed check to ensure taxpayers receive their refunds in a timely manner and avoid potential delays associated with unsuccessful direct deposits.

The IRS prioritizes accuracy and security when issuing tax refunds. If there are concerns about the validity of a bank account, or if certain conditions aren’t met for electronic transfers, a paper refund check is sent to guarantee that taxpayers receive their funds without complications.

What to Do If Your Refund is Delayed

  • Contact the IRS using the “Where’s My Refund?” tool or IRS2Go mobile app
  • Verify your tax return information for accuracy and completeness
  • Look out for any IRS notices or requests for additional information
  • Consider reaching out to a tax professional or advisor for guidance
  • Be patient and allow time for the IRS to process your refund
  • Avoid filing an amended return unless necessary


In conclusion, understanding the tax refund approval process and expected duration is crucial. Checking your refund status through tools like “Where’s My Refund?” or IRS2Go can provide real-time information.

Whether opting for direct deposit or a mailed check, knowing the timelines is essential for planning your finances. If faced with delays, taking proactive steps such as contacting the IRS or your tax professional can help expedite the process.

Being informed about the potential wait time for your tax refund to show in your bank account after approval empowers you to manage expectations effectively.


How long does it take for my refund to be deposited after the IRS approves it?

Most refunds are deposited into bank accounts within 21 calendar days after the IRS receives your tax return and approves the refund.

Does it take longer for the refund to be deposited if I choose direct deposit?

No, direct deposit is actually the fastest way to receive your tax refund. It allows the IRS to deposit the funds electronically into your account instead of mailing a paper check.

What if I filed my return over 21 days ago and the refund still isn’t showing up?

If it has been more than 21 days, check the IRS refund status online, or contact them directly, to inquire about any issues or delays. Sometimes further identity verification is needed.

How long will my refund take if I requested a paper check?

A refund being mailed as a paper check will take considerably longer – up to 6 weeks for checks to be printed and mailed after the refund is approved.

Can my bank delay availability of the refund money after the IRS deposits it?

Yes, your individual bank may still delay funds availability for a few days after the actual deposit date. Contact your bank with questions on local funds availability policies.