The IRS has done much lately to streamline the Federal Income tax system. There has been great strides made in getting American taxpayers to e-file their taxes. The IRS refund is also done electronically: now commonly dispersed as a direct deposit than a paper check. As a result, the IRS refund cycle is more predictable. That said, the 2013 IRS refund cycle may change from last year.
The 2012 IRS refund cycle gave different time lines for people who e-filed and for those who mailed in their federal income tax forms. E-filers could expect the refund in 10 days or less after the IRS accepted the return. Paper filers could expect to wait several weeks.
The 2013 IRS Refund Cycle
Now, the whole refund cycle has been simplified: the 21-day rule holds for everyone no matter how they filed their taxes. True, your income tax return will arrive at the IRS and the acceptance date will be sooner than if you had mailed your return. But after that, the IRS has given itself more leeway in turnaround time.
That’s because last year there were many delays in the refund cycle. Fraud filters worked too well and re-flagged many returns that weren’t necessarily fraudulent. Also, other systems that intertwine with the IRS’s e-file system got bogged down. So even though the IRS may have processed your federal income tax return quickly, forces beyond the IRS’s control made your window of time closer to 21 days rather than 10 days even if you e-filed.