Are you expecting a refund from the IRS this year? Here are the top 10 things you should know about your refund:

Refund options – You have two options for receiving your federal refund: a paper check or a direct deposit.

Separate accounts – You may use Form 8888, Direct Deposit of Refund to More Than One Account, to have your refund split among up to three separate accounts, such as checking or savings or retirement accounts.

Paper return processing time – If your return is complete and accurate, your refund will usually be issued within six weeks from the date the IRS receives it.

E-filed returns – If you file electronically, your refund will normally be issued within three weeks after the acknowledgment date.

Check status online – The fastest and easiest way to find out about your refund is to go to and click on the “Where’s My Refund?” link on the home page. You will need your Social Security number, filing status and the exact amount of your refund.

Check status by phone – Call the IRS Refund Hotline at 800-829-1954. You will need to your Social Security number, your filing status and the exact amount of your refund.

Delayed refund – For things that may delay the processing of your return, read about common tax return errors.

Larger than expected refund – Do not cash the check until you receive a notice explaining the difference. Follow the instructions on the notice.

Smaller than expected refund – If this happens you may cash the check. If the IRS determines that you should have received more, it will later send the difference. If you did not receive a notice and you have questions about the amount of your refund, wait two weeks and then call 800-829-1040.

Missing refund – The IRS will send you a replacement check for a refund check that is lost or stolen. If the IRS was unable to deliver your refund because you moved, you can change your address online. Once your address has been changed, the IRS can reissue the undelivered check. For more information, visit or call 800-829-1040.

Things you need to know about tax refunds

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