Tracking Your Tax Refund

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by Elle Martinez · 6 comments

We’re right in the middle of tax season and for some people that means getting a refund back. I’ll share how you can track your tax refund as well as some great financial goals for that money.

Checking the Status of Your Tax Refund

If you haven’t received your tax return or you’re curious to see if it’s coming, just go to the IRS’ site and enter your information. If you prefer to speak to someone on the phone, the number is 1-(800) 829-1040. I was also surprised to find out they have a Twitter account at @IRSnews.

There’s an App for That – IRS2Go

What can the app do for you, let me share the IRS’ own description:

Taxpayers can check the status of their federal refund through the new phone app with a few basic pieces of information. First, taxpayers enter a Social Security number, which is masked and encrypted for security purposes. Next, taxpayers pick the filing status they used on their income tax return. Finally, taxpayers enter the amount of the refund they expect from their 2010 tax return.

For people who e-file, the refund function of the phone app will work within about 72 hours after taxpayers receive an e-mail acknowledgement saying the IRS received their tax return.

For people filing paper tax returns, longer processing times mean they will need to wait three to four weeks before they can check their refund status

As an added bonus you can also sign up to receive tax tips from the IRS to your email. It’s quick, simple, and handy app for many people.

Tax Refund Ideas

Are you looking for ideas for using your tax refund to help your finances in 2011? Here are some great ones you can do, no matter how big or small your refund is.

  • Start or build your emergency fund. Based the amount on your family’s personal savings needs. Even if it’s a starter emergency fund, it’s a cushion for you in case something happens like a car breaking down. For your emergency funds please keep it in a high interest savings account where it’s possible to access it in emergencies without being tempted to spend it.
  • Pay down your debt. If you have an emergency fund ready to go, then look at putting your tax refund towards paying down your debt. Paying down your debt can improve your monthly cash flow.
  • Open or contribute to your IRA. If you have $1,000 or less you can open an IRA. The advantage of starting now rather than later is the benefit of compound interest.
  • Donate to a worthy cause. If you’re looking to find a cause that’s dear to your heart, try Charity Navigator. It can help you find a charity that reflects your values and you can evaluate their administration. It’s free and easy to use. Some of my favorite charities are Charity: Water, DonorsChoose, and Camp Sunshine.

Don’t forget to set aside some money to just have a little bit of fun.

Thoughts on Tax Refunds

If you’ve filed your taxes and received a refund, how long did it take? Did you e-file or paper file? What are you using your tax refund for this year?

Photo Credit: yoggy0

About Elle Martinez
Elle Martinez helps families at Couple Money achieve financial freedom by sharing tips for reducing debt, increase income, and building net worth. Learn how to live on one income and have fun with the second..

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