If you feel the IRS owes you money, you can expect your refund within 21 days if you filed your tax return electronically. And you can always check the status of your refund by clicking on the ‘Where’s my Refund’ link in the IRS website, www.irs.gov. Recently, the IRS has publicly stated that their website has been inundated by visitors seeking their refunds (not surprising as it’s the beginning of tax season). Their advice is to check your refund status not more than once a day. The IRS updates ‘Where’s my Refund’ daily. If you wish to avoid system delays, check your refund status on weekends or in the evenings.
Another issue about time for a refund is how far back can you submit returns or amended returns and still get a refund. You can still get a refund if it is due not more than three years from the original deadline of your tax return. But you cannot get a refund on taxes paid more than three years ago.
For example, if you submitted your tax return or amended taxes for the year 2009 you can still obtain a refund if you apply for it today in 2013 because the deadline for the tax year 2009 was April 15, 2010 and we are still within 3 years from that date. But you won’t be able to get a refund for taxes paid before 2010 because it exceeds the 3 year time bar. If you made changes on an already filed return, your changes also need to be made within the three years. One thing about amended changes is that you cannot file them electronically; they have to be submitted in paper.
Can you obtain a refund if you file your tax returns late? Suppose you have not filed your tax return for last year and you wish to do so now. You should file it immediately and you can still get a refund on your tax return if your late tax return is within the three year time bar. So the same example above applies just that the tax return for 2009 is done now as a late return. Just like amended tax returns, late tax returns must also be filed in paper form directly to the IRS. The IRS takes 10 to 12 weeks to process an amended tax return, and it could take longer to process past year returns.