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This article was fact-checked by our editors and reviewed by Jennifer Samuel, senior product specialist for Credit Karma Tax®.
If you’ve filed a state tax return and you’re expecting a refund, there’s no hard-and-fast rule for when you’ll get your money.
When you file a federal income tax return, the IRS allows you to check your federal refund status through its website or mobile app. But every state has its own process for handling income taxes and sending out refunds. So depending on the state you file in, your refund could be in your hands in as little as a couple of weeks or it could be a few months.
Luckily, you may be able to check the status of your state tax refund on your state’s website or mobile app — if your state offers that option. Here’s what to know.
- What information do I need to track a state refund?
- How long will my state refund take?
- Where’s my state tax refund?
Not all states have a state-level income tax. Alaska, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and Wyoming don’t have personal income taxes — although Tennessee and New Hampshire tax some dividends and interest. If you live in one of these states, you probably only need to keep tabs on any federal refund you’re due.
If you live in a state that does levy its own income tax, you may be able to e-file your state return for free directly through the state’s website. Then, you may be able to track your refund by signing up for notifications, logging into a web portal or downloading a mobile app. The options available to you vary by state, so make sure to visit your state’s website for more information.
Every state has its own process for checking on personal income tax refunds. For example, some allow you to check on only your current year return, while others allow you to check previous years. To access your information in certain states, you may need to register for an account first and provide details such as …
- Your Social Security number or another commonly used identifier, such as an individual taxpayer identification number, or ITIN
- Your anticipated refund amount
- Your date of birth, tax year of the return, filing status or ZIP code
The IRS says it sends most federal tax refunds in 21 days, but every state processes returns at its own pace. For example, refunds generally take up to two weeks to process in California if you e-file, while it generally takes up to 12 weeks if you’ve filed a paper return in Kentucky.
And just as certain situations can slow down your federal refund — like claiming certain tax credits — some situations generally can further slow down your state income tax refund, like …
- Filing a paper return
- Choosing to receive a paper check instead of direct deposit
- Making errors on the return or forgetting to include necessary documents
- Certain states are implementing new security measures to combat identity theft, which may increase the processing times for refunds.
When should I start checking on my refund?
States typically send verification, via email or postal mail, when they’ve received and accepted a return. As soon as you get that notification, you can typically start tracking your refund within a few days to a week, depending on whether you e-filed or paper filed your state tax return. It’s possible some states may take longer. Some states update taxpayer account information every few days.
If you used Credit Karma Tax® to file, you’ll get a confirmation when the state has accepted your return — typically within 24 to 48 hours.
What if my refund is overdue?
You’re probably eager to get that refund check in your hands (or your bank account).
If your state’s estimated time frame for issuing a refund has passed and you still haven’t received yours, your state may offer a solution, such as calling a customer service hotline.
This table provides links to each state’s specific refund-tracking page, the state’s taxpayer access point or the state’s department of revenue page. Search for “Where’s my refund?” or a similar phrase, and then, plug in your details to start tracking your refund.
If you’ve filed a state income tax return, you could wait months to get any refund you’re owed. Taxpayers who e-file and request a direct deposit can typically expect a quicker turnaround. But the timeline doesn’t have to be a mystery. Head to your state’s taxpayer page to check the status of your refund.
Jennifer Samuel, senior tax product specialist for Credit Karma Tax®, has more than a decade of experience in the tax preparation industry, including work as a tax analyst and tax preparation professional. She holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Saint Leo University. You can find her on LinkedIn.