PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — When taxpayers come to a tax preparer for assistance, they’ve got one basic question, says Jackson Hewitt tax preparer Joseph O’Rourke.

“How much of a refund am I going to receive and how quickly?”

O’Rourke says the refund size is a matter of math.

“They go from a couple hundred dollars to thousands and thousands of dollars. We’ve seen them as high as $8,000, $9,000 refunds,” O’Rourke told KDKA money editor Jon Delano.

But how quickly you get that refund is unpredictable – even with the IRS using a new process that is supposed to speed up refunds for those filing online with direct bank deposit of the refund.

“Refunds were expected to come in four days. Though last year, it was 11 to 17 days. Under the modern system, it was supposed to be in four days, and we have seen some coming back in four days. However, the vast majority are not,” noted O’Rourke.

The IRS makes no guarantees on timing, with IRS spokesperson Jenny Jenkins saying, “A little over nine out of 10 of the returns that are electronically filed with direct deposit will be issued within 21 days.”

Taxpayers can track the status of their refund on the IRS website, but the IRS says taxpayers who go online too much clog their system and make it tough to get online.

Your refund status is updated only once a day, early in the morning, so checking your refund status several times a day is fruitless.

“Once a day is enough,” says Jenkins. “Keep the service open to other people who also want to check on the status of their refund.”

And here’s a good tip, check your bank account first, says O’Rourke.

“The money will be in the account before it is online to see that it’s going to be there,” he says. “So you’re better off checking with your account and seeing if your deposit is there.”


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