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Tax Tip: Dude, Where's My Refund?

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — So, you successfully completed your 2010 tax returns and you are getting refunds! But your 1040s were mailed out weeks ago and you have not received the checks yet. What do you do?

First of all, don’t call your tax preparer. There is nothing we can do.

Look at your copy of the return to see if you requested a direct deposit of your refund. If you did, check your most recent bank account statement or access your account online to see if the refund was deposited. You will not receive a written acknowledgement of the direct deposit from the Internal Revenue Service, your state, or the bank – the money will just appear in your account.

If the refund has not been directly deposited, or you elected to receive a check, you can check the status of your federal income tax refund online. Go to the IRS website and click on “Check on Your Refund” in the left hand margin under “Online Services” to access the “Where’s My Refund?” online tool.

This section of the site will usually have information about a refund 72 hours after the IRS acknowledges receipt of an electronically-filed return, or about four weeks after mailing in a paper return. Have your copy of the tax return in front of you when you check, as you will need information from the return. You can check back weekly, on Wednesdays, for any updates to your refund information.

If you are told that your return has not been received then you should definitely contact your preparer to prepare a duplicate. If you are told that your refund has been issued but you have not received it, follow the instructions provided to request a new check.

Most states also allow you to check the status of your state tax refund online at the website of the Department or Division of Taxation or Revenue in your state.

We hope it's been a fulfilling tax season for you. This is the last of this year's regular tax tips, but if you are one of the many taxpayers who filed for an extension, make sure to check out MainStreet's tax center for our archive of tips to ensure you get the biggest refund check you can!

—For the best rates on loans, bank accounts and credit cards, enter your ZIP code at BankingMyWay.com.

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