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Tax Tip: Dude, Where's My Refund?

Editor's Note: This article is part of our 2013 Tax Tips series. Robert Flach is an expert with almost 40 years of experience as a tax professional and also blogs as The Wandering Tax Pro.

NEW YORK (MainStreet)—You filed your 2012 Form 1040 weeks ago and you are getting a refund! But you haven’t received the check yet. What can you do?

Don’t call your tax preparer - there is absolutely nothing we can do.

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First look at your copy of the return to see if you requested direct deposit. 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 IRS, your state, or the bank – the money will just appear in your account.

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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 the Where’s My Refund? icon under the “Filing and Paying” menu.

The Where's My Refund? system 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 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.

If you are told that your return has not been received contact your tax pro 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. If there appears to be an issue with your return or refund you can call a special IRS number to ask about it.

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.

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