E-file is Open! Now What?

It’s the day many have waited for and some have dreaded: the start of tax season. The IRS opened e-file today. If you’ve had your return prepared for some time and have been waiting, you may be asking what happens next. Here’s a brief look at what’s going on.

Step 1: Tax preparation

You had your return prepared at an office, online or with desktop software. Now you want to see where it is. There are three ways to check your e-file status:

Step 2: Filing your return

If you’ve chosen to e-file your return it will first be submitted to H&R Block secure servers, where it passes through a review process. If you have prepared a state return and chose to e-file it as well, it will also be submitted.

Step 3: IRS processing

After the H&R Block review process, returns are then transmitted, or sent, to the IRS where they are processed and either accepted or rejected.

If your return has been accepted, the IRS has started processing your return.

If your return is rejected, the IRS identified an error on your return. You will need to either work with your tax pro to fix the error, or if you’re using one of the do-it-yourself products, fix the error yourself and then submit your return again.

Your state return will not be processed until your federal return is accepted. It may also be placed on hold if the IRS is taking longer than expected to process your federal return. Once the IRS has accepted your federal return your state return will be sent to your state tax office for processing.

Step 4: Check your federal refund status

There are two ways to get your individual refund status.

Statuses you might see when checking your refund status:

Refund Received. The IRS has received your tax return and is processing it. Be aware that the IRS can take up to 24 hours to update your status once they’ve received your return.

Refund Approved. The IRS has finished processing the return and has approved the refund. See common FAQs from the IRS for more information. 

Refund Sent. If you chose to have your refund direct deposited to your personal checking or savings account, the IRS has sent your refund to your bank. The IRS will provide the date your refund was sent to the bank. If it’s not in your bank account, it may be because:

  • You requested a paper check that is in the mail. The IRS will provide a date you should see it in the mail.
  • You chose to put your refund on an Emerald Card
  • Your financial institution is processing the funds, which may take an additional two to five business days from the date the IRS provides for processing. Be sure to check that your bank received your refund before you spend the money.
  • You have outstanding debts held by the government that they are deducting from your refund.  This could be back taxes, owed child support, defaulted student loans and more.

Most refunds are issued within 21 days.

If there are conflicts between the status shown in the H&R Block mobile app and the IRS’ Where’s My Refund tool, you should work off of the information on the IRS site.  H&R Block representatives cannot see or check your refund status on Where’s My Refund.

If the IRS has a problem with your return, they will notify you by mail. They will not communicate with you via e-mail, text message or social media. You should respond to all mailings from the IRS promptly.

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