The day of reckoning has been and gone with most Americans finally getting their 2011 returns squared away, and the burning question of the season seems to have morphed to, “so when does my tax refund get here?”
Although many choose to get their 2011 taxes in order early in the year, judging by a lot of public self-flagellating we saw on Facebook and Twitter, many, many more left the tax-preparation hassle until the last few days before the filing deadline occurred. Which is not entirely unreasonable, given that the bulk of us can now punch a few numbers in on the interwebs and in about twenty minutes, give or take, get right with Uncle Sam, claim our deductions and calculate our tax refund. (Isn’t living in the future awesome sometimes?)
One of the few upsides to having had your taxes done by a real live actual person was that when you wanted to know the status of your tax refund, you could ring up the local H&R Block and directly ask your representative when to expect your tax refund to automagically arrive in your bank account. (And before that, you had to watch the mailbox for a slate-chiseled actual check to arrive, which you then had to physically drive with to the bank, interact with an actual teller, put pen to paper on forms, verbally request a lollipop “for your kid,” and wait from then on for your tax refund to clear.)
Now after using Turbo Tax or the H&R Block online tax preparation software, our tax refunds arrive via direct deposit within mumblety days. How many days? Two to three? Five to 10? Twenty-one? The answer to that question is “all of the above,” depending on a few factors affecting the speed of a tax refund.
The IRS knows that Americans get excited about their tax refund status, which is why they set up “Where’s My Refund,” so as not to drown in “where my check at?” phone calls. But if you need to know the status of your tax refund right now, there’s even an IRS2Go smartphone app so you can ask where your tax refund is while angrily asking where the hell your Frappucino is, it’s been like three minutes.