Where Is That Tax Return?

Humans tend to be impatient, especially in the tech-centric world of today. And nothing tests our patience quite like waiting for money. Technology caters to our impatience around tax time, thanks to something we commonly take for granted: electronic filing. Many people don’t realize how long e-filing has been around.

In earlier times, dating all the way back to 1986, e-filing still required a signature form to be mailed in. Ironically, e-filing wasn’t paperless until the turn of the new millennium. The image below, courtesy of Villanova University Tax and Business Online, illustrates this bit of tax history in an easy to digest timeline.

If you are receiving a tax return this year, you’re in luck–the IRS is on track with tax returns for 2017!

But there’s a catch.

According to the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act of 2015, taxpayers claiming the earned-income tax credit (EITC) or the additional child tax credit (ACTC) cannot have their returns released until February 15. Anyone had the ability to file their taxes on January 23 of this year, but if you claimed the EITC or ACTC you’ll just have to wait a little longer.

Details aside, if you’re getting a return you’ve likely been attempting to count down the days until you get that money. A range of sources claim that it takes roughly two to six weeks to receive returns. The folks at Forbes put together the following chart that gives taxpayers more context in when to expect to see returns hit their bank accounts or mailboxes (if you’re old-school):

Additionally, the IRS suggests using the ‘Where’s My Refund?’ tool, for an up-to-date status on your tax return.

If you a northern neighbor, preparing your taxes in Canada is similar to the way taxes are done in the United States, although the tax deadline for most Canadians is April 30th, rather than April 18th. An article on Huffington Post Canada, Here’s How Long It Takes To Receive Your Tax Refund, will help you comprehend the timeline of your Canadian tax return:

“According to the Canada Revenue Agency, more than two-thirds of Canadians now file their returns electronically. If you Netfile your return, the average processing time is 10 business days. Paper filers can tack on another four to six weeks to that time. If you’re not signed up for direct deposit and are expecting a paper cheque, add another three to five days to your wait time.”

Now that you know when to expect your return, you just have to decide how you’ll spend your return. Will you buy that guitar you’ve been drooling over all year? Or save for something more responsible?

Whatever you do, just remember to e-file and opt for direct deposit. Oh, and don’t spend it all at once!

Robert Parmer
ROBERT Parmer is a student of Boise State University, ex-chef and barista, and adamant writer. He stepped away from the kitchen life three years ago to pursue freelance writing endeavors, and enjoys writing about business, health/wellness, and cats.