Editor’s Note: This story was updated in March 2019 with current links and new data for the 2019 tax season.
Kathy Waterbury was walking the hallway at work when another employee at the Mississippi Department of Revenue (DOR) stopped her.
“What they told me was that a man had filed his state taxes but hadn’t gotten his refund,” Waterbury, the communications director for the DOR, explained. “And when they asked how long ago the man had filed his taxes, he told them about three hours before he called.”
While Waterbury laughed about the exchange, she said taxpayers are looking for their refunds much more quickly than they have in the past.
“They want their money, and in the age of computers, they want it now,” she said.
And filing online comes with the expectation that returns will be processed faster. IRS says it issues 90 percent of refunds in less than three weeks, which helps explain why 90 percent of taxpayers choose online filing over traditional mail. And this three-week turnaround does not appear to have been impacted by the federal government shutdown
that began late last year, and stretched into late January.
But according to the IRS, federal filings are coming in a bit slower this year, perhaps attributable to changes in federal tax law that left many taxpayers used to receiving refunds with a balance due. 2019 Filing Season Statistics
show that as of Feb. 22, the number of federal refunds processed was down by nearly 5 percent. Visits to IRS.gov, however, were up by more than 9 percent.
As for state returns, tax agencies now let taxpayers check the status of their refund should they grow impatient waiting for their money to hit their bank account. Check our map for a link to where you can check the status of your state return.