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Income Tax

2020 IRS Income Tax Refund Chart: When Will You Get Your Tax Refund Check?

Some taxpayers can get their IRS income tax refund as early as January 31, 2020. The income tax season generally starts in late January, when the IRS officially starts accepting e-filed and mailed-in tax returns.


Updated: 5:08 pm, CST, December 3, 2019.

Wondering when you will get your 2020 income tax refund from the IRS? We have the answer in a simple chart. (See the chart below.)

The tax reform law that took effect in early 2018 will still have an effect on many Americans, with the tax returns they file from January through April 15, 2020 affecting their refunds. See the chart below for an estimated date.

Will You Get a Bigger Income Tax Refund in 2020?

Maybe, maybe not. For many, there may be no effect on their refund, particularly if they adjusted their tax withholding throughout the year. The average worker was forecast to see $1,000-$2,000 per year in tax savings (the higher amount for those with children). If you did not adjust the amount of taxes you have withheld from your paycheck, it could result in a larger refund. But for those who did make the adjustment, the result should have been about $20-$40 more per week in their paycheck. Many factors affect your tax rate and refund, so not all working taxpayers will realize the same results.

When Will You Get Your 2020 Income Tax Refund?

This is the question you probably came here for. First, the income tax season generally starts in late January, when the IRS officially starts accepting e-filed and mailed-in tax returns. However, in recent years, the start of tax season has been delayed until early February, due mostly to significant changes to the tax laws. Keep that in mind this year, since if Congress makes new tax laws in December, it will likely cause a delay at the IRS.

The IRS is also continuing to slightly delay processing of income tax returns with the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or Child Tax Credit (CTC), since these credits have often been the focus of misuse and abuse.  

The below chart shows an estimated timeline for when a taxpayer is likely to receive their refund, based on the information we have now, and using projections based on previous years. If your IRS income tax refund is delayed, use the “Where’s My Refund?”tool on the IRS website – Or download the IRS2Go app to check your refund status.

“When Can I Expect My 2020 Income Tax Refund?”

IRS Accepts Between These Dates ==== > Direct Deposit Sent (Or Check Mailed)    

1/20/20- 1/24/20— >   Friday 1/31/20 *  

1/27/20- 1/31/ 20  — > Friday 2/7/20

2/3/20- 2/7/20   — > Friday 2/14/20 **  

2/10/20- 2/14/20 — >   Friday 2/21/20 **  

2/17/20- 2/21/20   — > Friday 2/28/20

2/24/20- 2/28/20 — >   Friday 3/6/20

3/2/20- 3/6/20   — > Friday 3/20/20 ***  

3/9/20- 3/13/20 — >   Friday 3/27/20

3/16/20- 3/20/20 — >   Friday 4/3/20

3/23/20- 3/27/20   — > Friday 4/10/20


* = IRS may delay tax filing season by one week or more due to changes in tax law.

** = Returns with EITC or CTC may have refunds delayed until late February to verify credits.

*** = Filing during peak season can result in slightly longer waits.

3/29/20- 4/3/20 — > Friday 4/17/20

4/6/20- 4/10/20 — >   Friday 4/24/20

4/13/20- 4/12/20 — >   Friday 5/1/20

4/20/20- 4/24/20 — >   Friday 5/8/20

4/27/20- 5/1/20 — >   Friday 5/15/20

5/4/20- 5/8/20 — >   Friday 5/22/20

5/11/20- 5/15/20 — >   Friday 5/29/20    

5/18/20- 5/22/20   — > Friday 6/5/20

5/25/20- 5/29/20   — > Friday 6/12/20

6/1/20- 6/5/20 — > Friday 6/19/20

IMPORTANT: If you file electronically (using an online tax program or preparer), the IRS will notify you of the actual date they “accepted” your return. This is often 1-3 days from the time you actually hit the “file” button, and it is this date that you need to use for the above chart.

Taxpayers who mail their income tax return can expect at least a 3-4 week delay at the front-end of the process, as the return has to be digitized before it can be processed.


Be Safe – Hire a Professional

Taxpayers who use a professional, such as a CPA or EA, can ask that professional for the estimated date of their tax refund, and they can be more confident that their taxes have been properly (and legally) filed.

There are also apps for Apple, Android and other devices that help track refund status.

Note: The IRS will start processing most returns on January 20, 2020, but will not start processing returns with the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) until mid-February 2020.


Important Notes:

In general, the IRS says that returns with refunds are processed and payments issued within 21 days. For paper filers, this can take much longer, however. The IRS and tax professionals strongly encourage electronic filing.

How quickly a taxpayer receives a refund also depends on when they file and whether they have requested a direct deposit of their refund, or a paper check. This is because during some time frames there is increased traffic, with more filers getting their forms in. The busiest time, and which can experience longer waits on refunds, is usually for those who file in April.

What If I Can’t File My Income Taxes By April 15?

If you realize you don’t have all of the paperwork you need in order to file your taxes, you or your tax pro can easily file an extension form, “Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return.” – This will give you until October 15 to file your tax return. You don’t need any reason or excuse to receive this extension, and as the title states, it is automatically granted.

However, if you owe taxes, it is still your obligation to pay those taxes by April 15, even if you request an extension. A professional can assist with this. If you are due a refund, all you need to do is file the extension request by April 15. Any tax professional and most do-it-yourself tax program can perform this task.