Expediting a Refund
The IRS generally releases refunds within specified times. Generally, the IRS needs two weeks to process a refund on an electronically filed tax return and up to six weeks for a paper tax return.
The PATH Act made the following changes, which became effective for the 2017 filing season, to help prevent revenue loss due to identity theft and refund fraud related to fabricated wages and withholdings:
If you are facing a hardship, like a financial hardship (can’t buy medicine, can’t pay mortgage or rent and received an eviction notice, can’t pay utilities and got a shut off notice, etc.) and you need your refund sooner, the IRS may be able to expedite the refund. You will need to contact the IRS and explain your hardship situation.
The IRS may be able to expedite your refund, if it is held up by a temporary backlog in processing — you may receive a letter or notice from the IRS telling you there’s a problem with your tax return or that your refund will be delayed. In that case, if you are experiencing a financial hardship, the IRS might be able to manually process your refund to get it to you sooner.
If you owe tax to the IRS from a prior tax year, the IRS may be holding your refund to pay down that debt. But if you are facing a serious financial hardship and need your refund immediately, the IRS can consider not following its usual procedures of taking the refund. Instead, it may release and expedite part or all the refund to help with your hardship.
Request an expedited refund by calling the IRS at 800-829-1040 (TTY/TDD 800-829-4059).
The IRS will likely request documentation of your financial hardship such as copies of shutoff notices, eviction or foreclosure notices, etc., as well as other supporting information like a copy of your tax return with the refund claim. Respond promptly to the IRS’s request
If you provide the information the IRS is asking for within the requested time, the IRS will immediately consider your request for an expedited refund.
Some things to consider if you’re seeking an expedited refund:
Browse common tax issues and situations at Get Help.
If your IRS problem is causing you financial hardship, you’ve tried repeatedly and aren’t receiving a response from the IRS, or you feel your taxpayer rights aren’t being respected, consider contacting the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS).
You may be eligible for representation from an attorney, certified public accountant (CPA), or enrolled agent (EA) associated with a Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC). LITCs also provide information about taxpayer rights and responsibilities in different languages for individuals who speak English as a second language.
IRS Toll-Free: 800-829-1040 (TTY/TDD 800-829-4059)
“Where’s my refund?” on IRS.gov