Tracking your tax return, tax refund and amended return

Its the tax season, and we all know the drill – buy a software, get a professional to do it for you, or just fill the forms directly. Either way we are all filing our tax returns now.

But what happens after we drop the envelope at the post office? How to track it? Well, apparently there are ways.

First – dropping at the post office: we don’t really have to do that. Whether you’re using a software to prepare taxes on your own, or hire a professional to that – chances are that you can file electronically. I.e.: the data will flow over the Internet (securely, of course) directly to the IRS. You’ll receive a notification that your return had been delivered to the IRS within minutes or hours, and that would be your proof of timely filing.

If you do send paper return via mail, make sure you send it via certified mail. That is the only way to ensure that the postal receipt you get will be treated as a valid proof of timely filing. You would also be able to track the package and know when it was delivered to the IRS.

But once it has been delivered, whether electronically or physically, what can you do to track your tax return?

Well – there are two ways:

1. Call the IRS and ask. You’ll be waiting for a while until a representative answers, and then you’ll have to actually talk to the IRS.

2. Get the very same information over the Internet.

Its easy, really, and the IRS added a new option to also track your amended return now.

In order to track a return with a payment you don’t really need to do much, just watch your bank account, and you’ll see the check cashed/withdrawal initiated. But if you want to track your refund – you should start here: The IRS Where’s My Refund page. For returns filed electronically you can start checking there as soon as 24 hours after filing, but for returns filed via mail on paper – it may take up to¬† a month until they appear in the system. No need to call anyone, the representative over the phone will see exactly the same information.

The amended returns are always filed on paper, and will not show at the “Where’s My Refund” page. Instead, for amended returns, go to this new page: The IRS Where’s My Amended Return page. Remember that it might take up to 3 months for the amended return to show up there.

When on the site, make sure you’re on the right site. Check through your browser that the site is secured and it is indeed “IRS.GOV” and not anything else. Most browsers will show on the address bar a notice about it.

Similar on-line sites exist for the States as well. For example, here in California you can track your refunds through this CA FTB web page: Check your California Refund Status. Check your own State’s taxing authority web site for details for your location.

Enjoy the tax season!

Your Little Advisor.

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