Each year there is much confusion over exactly when we will receive our income tax refund. This is understandable, as there are a number of factors that can affect it. The good news is that beginning this year all direct deposits will be issued 4 business days after the return posts. But what does "posts" mean?
When you efile your return the IRS software determines if it can be processed. If so, it is considered "accepted." If not, it is rejected and has to be resubmitted after the corrections have been made. This determination usually takes about 24-48 hours after efiling, but it can vary either way. Once it is accepted, the return is processed. This takes about a day unless there are other issues that arise. If there are, the "Where's My Refund" application on the IRS web site will give a 4 digit reference number. The definitions can be found here: http://www.irs.gov/irm/part21/irm_21-004...
Once the return has been processed, it "posts" to your account. This means that the information is available to be viewed on the IRS computers. For most of the past 50 years or so, information posted to accounts on a weekly basis. However, the IRS has implemented a new system that allows daily posting of transactions for most accounts. This means that a refund for a typical efiled return with no issues should be made in less than a week. For example: A return is accepted on the 17th and posts on the 18th. The DD would be 4 business days later on the 24th.
Some conditions require the information to be posted on the weekly schedule. This include accounts using an ITIN, a foreign address, collection issues within the past two years, and a few others that can be found here at paragraph 5: http://www.irs.gov/irm/part3/irm_03-030-...
Here are some points to keep in mind:
** The refund cycle calendar on the IRS web site is based on WEEKLY posting. This means that for most of us, our direct deposit will likely occur prior to the date on the calendar. This is why some folks are getting a date of 1/24 on WMR when the earliest date on the calendar is 1/25.
** In years past, the DD date was always on a Friday. Now, it can be any week day (M-F).
** WMR initiatlly gives a "received by" date corresponding to the Tuesday following the week the DD will actually be made. This is why it shows 1/31 and 2/7 for many of us so far. It is updated as the actual date gets closer.
** The date that WMR shows the DD will actually be made is the date the bank is directed to make the funds available. In reality, the funds are sent 1-2 days before that date. This is why some receive their refunds prior to that date. A few banks--usually online banks such as Meta Bank--make the funds available immediately.
I hope this helps. Melissa - Yes, more than likely. This would put you on the weekly processing schedule and you would follow the chart found here: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p2043.pdf...
Kandy - Don't rely on WMR as you could very easily receive it prior to the 1st. the problem is that we don't know if your return is subject to daily or weekly processing. Girls love girls - Give it time. As long as your return has been accepted, its in the pipeline. Sometimes I think WMR is more trouble than it's worth! Salutor - Yes, and quite possibly a little earlier. MarineMom - Thanks for the comments. As I mentioned to Kandy, we don't know when your particular post date will be. Whenever it is, the DD is 4 business days from it. If you currently have a date of 2/7, it won't be any later than 2/1 and possibly earlier. Chris - It's 4 days from the posting date, not the accepted date. This is the unknown, but for many should be only a day or so after the accepted date. If not, the refund cycle chart applies. By the way, I used to be an IRS telephone representative until recently so I'm very familiar with the processes and how to read the Internal Revenue Manual. crazelilellie - You should get it no later than 1/25 and possibly earlier, provided there are not other issues. As far as WMR is concerned, it tends to be quirky. I wouldn't be too concerned about it. Kristi - Mine was accepted on the 17th and WMR shows 1/31. Although now, it shows nothing. I expect it to be updated Monday. ? - WMR often updates with the actual DD date on the same date of the DD, or sometimes even afterwards! Ryan - If WMR said the DD was scheduled for 1/24, I'd bank on it. Don't be concerned that it isn't showing anything now. This has to do with how the program interacts with IRS computers, which are down at certain times. Bunnun - How and when WMR updates is a mystery. The web site itself says to check back weekly on Wednesdays, but that's probably just to keep folks from always checking. It obviously updates all the time, based on my experience and that of many here. Ryan - Thanks for the comments. This is always such a confusing topic and I wanted to help make it a bit clearer. Nicole - Done. Mallory - The unknown here is whether or not your return is subject to daily or weekly posting. Most people are on the daily schedule beginning this year. If so, your refund could come earlier than what is stated on the refund cycle chart.
In your case, if your return was accepted by 11 a.m. on the 18th, the DD should occur on the 25th at the latest, provided there are no other issues with your return or account.
As for WMR, it clearly updates on a daily basis as many have already seen it change to a 1/24 DD date, Tenako - Not sure about that. Does anything show on WMR yet? AJG - Yes, I would think so. millenium_ryan - Hard to say. If WMR gives a "received by" date of 1/31, you should get it by the 25th. Ash Hearne - My situation is the same. I do expect to get the deposit tomorrow, though, in spite of WMR. In years past it often updates on the same day the deposit shows up--or even later! aj - If WMR or the phone says processing, it has been accepted. Danielle - Same here, but as I noted above, WMR often updates on the date of the deposit, or even afterwards.