How to track your New York state tax refund

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In a Nutshell

If you’re waiting on a refund from the Empire State, you may be wondering how to track your New York state tax refund. The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance makes it easy to track your state refund online.
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This article was fact-checked by our editors and CPA Janet Murphy, senior product specialist with Credit Karma Tax®.

You’ve done the hard work of filing your tax return, and you’re due a tax refund. Great! But when will you get it?

The exact amount of time it takes to get your New York state tax refund will vary depending on how you filed your tax return, how you opted to be paid, and whether the state found any errors on the return. It’s a good idea to keep tabs on your refund as it’s being processed, so that you know when to expect it and can take action if your refund gets delayed.

Luckily, that’s not too hard to do. Let’s look at how you can track your New York state tax refund and what you can do if your refund is less than you expected.

How do I check the status of my New York state tax refund?

You can check your New York state tax refund status on the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance’s website. Refund status is available for the current tax year’s refund, as well as refunds from the previous three years. You’ll need to provide your Social Security number and which type of tax form you filed, like the NYC-210, IT-201 or another form.

You can begin tracking your refund status online about 72 hours after you e-file your state income tax return, or after four weeks if you mailed a paper return.

You can also call the department’s automated hotline to get information about the status of your return, at 518-457-5149.

If you really want to keep tabs on the latest updates about your tax refund, you can subscribe to email notifications by creating an online account and setting up electronic communications under the preferences section. Make sure to select both “Bills and Related Notices” and “Other Notifications” to get e-mail updates about your refund.

If you subscribe to email notifications, the department will email you when it issues your refund.

What could delay my New York state tax refund?

Several factors can affect how quickly you receive your New York state tax refund. Here are some scenarios where it may take a little longer to receive your refund.

  • The Department of Taxation and Finance sends you a letter asking for additional information to document something you claimed on your return.
  • The state finds errors on your return.
  • You paper file your New York state tax return instead of e-filing.
  • You request a paper check instead of having your refund directly deposited into your bank account. (The state says that e-filing and choosing direct deposit could help you get any refund you’re owed up to two weeks sooner. Plus, choosing direct deposit can help ensure your refund check doesn’t get lost in transit.)

As of Sept. 9, 2019, New York state reported receiving more than 10.1 million tax returns for the 2018 tax year (94% of them were e-filed) and issuing 7 million state income tax refunds, with an average amount of $1,060.

Of all those returns (both e-file and paper file), 78% of New York state tax refund filers chose to have their refunds directly deposited into their bank accounts — with e-filers getting their refunds twice as fast as paper filers.

Learn about filing a New York state tax return

What happens if my refund is delayed?

You can take the steps listed above to check the status of your refund. If it’s been a while and you suspect your refund check has been lost or stolen, you can contact the Department of Taxation and Finance at 518-457-5181. You’ll need a copy of your most recent tax return when you call.

And if the state doesn’t issue any refund you’re owed within 45 days after the due date of your tax return, or the date you filed (whichever is later), the state will pay you interest from that date.

What if my New York state tax refund is less than I expected?

You may receive your New York state tax refund only to discover it’s less than you were expecting — that can happen if the state makes adjustments to your refund amount. If the state adjusts your refund amount, it will send you a notice explaining the adjustment.

You can either accept the adjustment or disagree with it and provide documentation to support what you claimed on your return.

Can the state take my refund to pay my spouse’s debt?

If you file jointly and your spouse has defaulted on certain types of education loans; owes past-due child support or another past-due, legally enforceable debt to a New York state agency; or has a New York City tax warrant judgment against them, the state could put all or part of your refund toward the debt. If you don’t want that to happen, you’ll need to file Form IT-280 with your state tax return.

Bottom line

If you’re wondering when you’ll get your New York state tax refund, you can track it through the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance’s website. Just remember that errors and omissions on a tax return can slow down its processing. And e-filing and requesting direct deposit of your refund remain the best ways to ensure you get your refund as quickly as possible.

You may even be able to e-file your New York state tax return for free through the state’s partnership with Free File Alliance, though you’ll have to meet income limits (and possibly other qualifications). Or you can e-file on Credit Karma Tax®, which is always free.

A senior product specialist with Credit Karma Tax®, Janet Murphy is a CPA with more than a decade in the tax industry. She’s worked as a tax analyst, tax product development manager and tax accountant. She has accounting degrees and certifications from Clemson University and the U.S. Career Institute. You can find her on LinkedIn.

About the author: Lindsay VanSomeren is a freelance writer living in Kirkland, Washington. She has been a professional dogsled racer, a wildlife researcher, and a participant in the National Spelling Bee.… Read more.