Ways to check on your tax refund

Photo by Michael Malone

Some 75% of U.S. taxpayers are expecting a refund this year. If you’re wondering when you’ll get your money, you have several ways to check.

Go to www.irs.gov and click on the “Where’s My Refund” tool. You’ll need to provide your Social Security number, your filing status — single, married filing either jointly or separately, head of household, or qualifying widow or widower — and the amount of your expected refund, as shown on your tax return, rounded to the nearest whole dollar. You can usually get information about the status of your refund 72 hours after the IRS acknowledges receipt of your e-filed return, or three to four weeks after you file a paper return. The tool is updated every Wednesday.

Also, this year the IRS unveiled a new smart-phone app, IRS2Go, for iPhone and Android phone users. You can download the free app at the Apple App store or Android Marketplace. Input the same three pieces of information — Social Security number, filing status and expected refund — to find out when you’ll get your money. (Next year, be sure to choose direct deposit if you’re filing your return electronically; you may receive your refund in as little as ten days.)

Start thinking about how you can put your refund to good use by paying down debt or building up savings. While you’re at it, file a new Form W-4 with your employer to increase your take-home pay immediately rather than waiting until next year for a tax refund. Tap our Easy-to-Use Withholding Calculator to help you fill in the values.

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This article originally appeared in Kiplinger on March 11, 2011