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Understanding the tax refund schedule and its implications

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is required by law to issue refunds before a particular date. There are multiple modes of getting refunds, and among them, the most popular way of getting refunds is by direct deposit. Direct deposit is one of the many IRS services that is the fastest and safest way to receive income tax refunds. Popular tax software available in the market also have the direct deposit as a default option for income tax refund.

An income tax return and tax refund are two separate financial aspects. A tax return is a detailed summary of your earnings, any liabilities, taxes paid previously, and your current tax obligation. A tax refund is a difference between the amount of tax payable to the government and the actual tax paid. Applicants are eligible for a refund if the tax paid is more than what you owe to the authorities. The refund will directly depend on the type of tax return you plan to file with the authorities. In most cases, the applicant is eligible for a tax refund within 21 days from the date of filing the claim.

Tax refund dates will be split up accordingly, depending on the date when you have filed a claim via direct deposit. According to the 2018 tax refund schedule estimates, you can expect the following duration of the entire process.

  • For e-filing of returns via direct deposit, the authorities allow a period of 1 to 2 weeks for applicants to expect a full refund.
  • If you file a paper claim along with the required documents for an income tax refund, the latest schedule allows for a minimum of 3 weeks before the applicant can receive a refund.
  • E-filing also offers an option that enables applicants to file the claim online and receive the refund via mail by check payment and the process will take at least a month.
  • The fourth option is to file a physical copy of the refund and expect a check in the mail. This will take at least a couple of months for the entire process

There are a number of points you must keep in mind before you follow the dates and guidelines set forth by the latest 2018 tax refund schedule estimates. Note that the dates mentioned in the guidelines may not necessarily coincide with the IRS refund process.

  • The 2018 tax refund schedule guidelines are at best an estimate of the dates applicable when it comes to income tax refund.
  • There is a possibility that you might receive your refund before or even after the date as per the guidelines.
  • There can be unexpected delays in returns after filing, so it is advisable not to make any financial plans on your part by relying on the 2018 tax refund schedule estimates.
  • Laws and guidelines keep changing depending on amendments and updates, which will have a significant impact on the filing and refunds of income tax returns for the current assessment year (AY).

An estimate of the 2018 tax refund schedule
The filing date and refund date are two estimates made on a schedule for any assessment year. Multiple online sources offer an estimate of dates for a refund and there is a good chance that the estimates might not coincide with each other, let alone with the main regulatory authority. The following are estimates for the latest 2018 tax refund schedule based on a few of the popular taxation and financial resources.

The IRS starts processing returns from January of every assessment year, and January 29th is the start for the current AY.

  • Refund for e-file direct deposit, e-file mail refund, paper file direct deposit, and paper file mail refund can be expected on February 13th or 23rd and March 13th or 23rd respectively
  • For returns that have been filed on February 15th, a refund for all four modes can be expected on three specific dates in the month of March including the 2nd, 12th, 30th or directly on April 9th
  • For March 1st returns, you can expect a refund on either March 16th or 26th and also in the month of April on 13th or 23rd
  • For March 15th returns, you can expect a refund on March 30th, April 9th, April 27th, or May 7th
  • For April 1st returns, a refund is possible on or before April 16th, 26th or May 14th or 24th
  • For April 17th returns filed with the authorities, you may expect a refund on May 2nd, 12th or 30th and on June 9th

For applicants filing returns using e-filing, the IRS offers a handy tool that allows you to track your tax refunds that might coincide with the estimated tax refund dates according to the latest tax refund schedule.

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