2024 IRS Tax Refund Schedule: When to Expect a Tax Refund

By WebCE
Feb 1, 2024

2024 IRS Tax Refund Schedule Chart and Payment Calendar

The 2024 tax season began on January 29 and lasts through April 15. During that time, the IRS expects to receive as many as 128.7 million individual tax returns.

To give your tax return the best chance of processing quickly, WebCE has gathered a list of 2024 tax filing updates, a tax refund schedule, and best practices for getting your refund as fast as possible.

New for the 2024 Tax Filing Season

Changes to the 2024 tax filing season focus on strengthening existing resources and expanding free tax filing services for taxpayers to file directly with the IRS.

Direct File, a new, pilot program from the IRS, allows eligible taxpayers to file their taxes for free directly with the IRS. The program is meant to simplify tax filing by walking users through a step-by-step checklist followed by a clear summary to ensure the filing is correct. The IRS Direct File pilot will be rolled out in phases as final testing is completed and is expected to be widely available in mid-March to eligible taxpayers in the participating states. Determine your eligibility for Direct File.

As part of its effort to expand existing resources, the IRS is also opening or reopening Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TACs) along with expanded hours to expand in-person services nationwide. IRS TACs allow taxpayers to schedule a free in-person appointment to review their taxes by an IRS tax professional. While the IRS offers help for most issues online or by phone, TACs offer taxpayers another helpful resource for addressing any questions or concerns in person.

Improvements to the Where’s My Refund? tool added clearer, more detailed refund status messages for more transparency during processing. This change was meant to make the information more accessible and helpful while also reducing call volume on the IRS help line. With these changes, the IRS only recommends calling them about your filing if a Where’s My Refund status asks you to.

Tips for Getting Your 2024 Tax Refund as Fast as Possible

The sooner you file, the sooner you’ll get your tax refund. Because so many file their tax returns in April, the IRS is more likely to get your tax refund to you on time if the return is filed during the less busy months of February and early March.

Most tax refunds are issued less than 21 days (about 3 weeks) from the day the IRS receives the return, but many things can impact this timing. The IRS advises taxpayers to think of a three-week return period as an average rather than an expected delivery date.

Filing your tax return electronically is the best way to ensure your tax return is processed as fast as possible and that you receive your tax refund sooner. Not only does the IRS receive your return faster when submitted electronically, but the IRS can process electronic returns much faster than paper returns. Filing a paper tax return by mail can increase the time spent waiting for a tax refund by up to two months.

The IRS recommends using direct deposit to receive your refund as soon as possible. In fact, nine out of ten taxpayers that select direct deposit receive their tax refund in less than 21 days. Plus, the IRS allows for direct deposits across up to three bank accounts.

Of course, this assumes your tax return information is accurate. One of the most common reasons a tax refund is delayed is due to a filing error.

Always double check—then triple check—the following information on your tax return for accuracy to avoid any hiccups:

  • Identifying numbers (SSN or ITIN) for yourself, your spouse, and your dependents
  • Information for all dependents
  • Routing and account numbers for direct deposit (IRS allows up to three accounts for direct deposit)
  • Electronic signature confirming accuracy of all information on tax return

While these are the most common missteps, reviewing all the information to ensure accuracy is one of the best things you can do to ensure you get your 2024 tax refund as fast as possible.

2024 IRS Tax Refund Schedule Chart & Payment Calendar

The tax refund schedule chart and calendar below are based on IRS guidance and historical trends. Both have been updated for the 2024 tax filing season.

The tax refund schedule chart and payment calendar below are meant to serve as a quick reference to gauge when you might get your tax refund based on when it is completed and submitted to the IRS. It is important to note that these are merely estimates and are not necessarily guarantees of when you will receive your tax refund.

Important Dates for the 2024 Tax Filing Season

  • January 29: IRS beings processing tax returns for the 2024 tax filing season
  • April 15: Deadline to file tax return or request an extension (excluding Maine and Massachusetts)
  • April 17: Deadline for Maine and Massachusetts to file tax returns or extensions (extended due to Patriot's Day and Emancipation Day holidays)
  • October 15: Deadline to file tax returns for extension filers

2024 IRS Tax Refund Schedule Chart

Receiving a tax refund depends on how the tax return was filed—electronically or by mail—and the chosen payment method—direct deposit or paper check by mail.

The tax refund schedule chart below lists estimated delivery times based on filing method and refund type. 

Tax Filing Method & Refund DeliveryTax Refund Delivery Time
E-file & Direct Deposit1–3 weeks (often 2 weeks)
Paper File by Mail & Direct Deposit3 weeks
E-file & Paper Check by Mail6–8 weeks
Paper File & Paper Check by Mail6–8 weeks

2024 IRS Refund Payment Calendar

More than 90% of tax refunds are delivered less than 21 days after tax returns are processed. The tax refund payment calendar below offers a rough estimate of when to expect a tax refund by direct deposit (approximately 14 days) and paper check by mail (approximately 21 days).

Refunds may be delayed if filed in mid-March through April due to the high volume of filings the IRS receives around this time.

Date Return E-Filed

Date Direct Deposit Sent

Date Paper Check Mailed

January 29, 2024

February 9, 2024

February 16, 2024

February 5

February 16

February 23

February 12

February 23

March 1

February 19

March 1

March 8

February 26

March 8

March 15

March 4

March 15

March 22

March 18

March 291

April 51

March 25

April 51

April 121

April 1

April 121

April 191

April 8

April 191

April 261

April 15 (Filing Deadline)

April 26

May 1

April 17 (Maine & Massachusetts Only)

May 1

May 8

1 During peak tax filing season (Mid-March through April), the IRS may take longer to process tax returns. 

Where's My Refund? How to Track Your 2024 IRS Tax Refund Status

The IRS has created two free tools to help you track your 2024 tax refund status:

For the most up-to-date status on your tax refund, the IRS recommends using Where’s My Refund, which they recently updated to offer more detailed notifications on your refund status. As a result of these updates, the IRS only recommends calling them about your refund if Where’s My Refund recommends it.

To check the status of your tax refund using either of these tools listed above, you will need:

Credentialed Tax Preparers Can Help

Tax professionals can help if a filing becomes overwhelming, you’d rather save time, or you want the peace of mind that your filing is correct. Whatever the reason, turning to a credentialed tax preparer is among the best ways to ensure the accuracy of your filing and the swiftness of your refund.

To help taxpayers find qualified tax return preparers in their area, the IRS crated a public directory of credentialed tax professionals in their Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications. Here, you’ll find attorneys, CPAs, enrolled agents, and Annual Filing Season Program Record of Completion recipients.

The IRS created the Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP) to offer ambitious tax return preparers an additional, IRS-endorsed professional credential for voluntarily completing AFSP continuing education.

More complicated tax returns may require the insight of an enrolled agent, attorney, or CPA. These tax professionals have unlimited representation rights, meaning they can represent taxpayers before the IRS in all matters, including audits, collections, and appeals. AFSP credentialed tax preparers have limited representation rights. While tax preparers not listed in the IRS directory may be able to help you file your taxes, they will not be able to represent you if the IRS finds any problems with your return. The peace of mind credentialed tax preparers offer is invaluable during this short but hectic season.

While we hope this guide can help you navigate your own filing, sometimes it helps to have the insight and peace of mind that comes from working closely with a credentialed tax professional. With their expertise, you can rest assured your taxes are in capable hands.