Before you ask for a trace
If you asked for a direct deposit refund, double-check the account information provided to the IRS to be sure there were no mistakes on the return — the IRS assumes no responsibility for errors by you or your preparer. You should also check with your financial institution, to make sure the mistake hasn't been at their end.
When can I ask the IRS to trace my refund?
Direct deposit: The IRS generally direct-deposits refunds within 21 days after receiving your return. If you don’t receive your deposit within 5 days after the 21 days have passed, you can request a trace.
Paper check: If you don’t receive your check within six weeks of mailing your return, you can request a trace.
If you signed up for a Refund Anticipation Loan or Refund Anticipation Check, you should contact the financial institution that issued the loan or check.
Once you've determined that your refund is really missing, you can ask the IRS to trace the refund.
If your filing status is single, married filing separate, or head of household:
- Call the IRS Refund Hotline toll-free at 1-800-829-1954 and use the automated system or speak with an employee
- Go to “"Where's My Refund?" at IRS.gov or the IRS2Go mobile app and follow the prompts to begin a trace once you indicate you haven’t received your refund
If your filing status is married filing jointly, you need to complete IRS Form 3911, Taxpayer Statement Regarding Refund, and mail it to the IRS service center where you would normally file a paper return.