Article from irs.gov reviewed Jan-11 2016
The IRS issues more than 9 out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days. However, it’s possible your tax return may require additional review and take longer. "Where’s My Refund?" has the most up to date information available about your refund. The tool is updated no more than once a day so you don’t need to check more often.
Our phone and walk-in representatives can research the status of your refund if it's been 21 days or more since you filed electronically, more than 6 weeks since you mailed your paper return or if "Where’s My Refund?" directs you to contact us.
You can use "Where’s My Refund?" to start checking on the status of your return within 24 hours after we have received your e-filed return or 4 weeks after you mail a paper return. "Where’s My Refund?" has a tracker that displays progress through 3 stages: (1) Return Received, (2) Refund Approved and (3) Refund Sent.
You will get personalized refund information based on the processing of your tax return. The tool will provide an actual refund date as soon as the IRS processes your tax return and approves your refund.
Direct DepositJoin the 8 in 10 taxpayers who get their refunds faster by using e-file and direct deposit. It's the safest, fastest way to receive your refund and is also easy to use. Just select it as your refund method through your tax software and type in the account number and routing number. Or, tell your tax preparer you want direct deposit. You can even use direct deposit if you are one of the few people still filing by paper. Be sure to double check your entry to avoid errors.
Your refund should only be deposited directly into accounts that are in your own name; your spouse’s name or both if it’s a joint account. No more than three electronic refunds can be deposited into a single financial account or pre-paid debit card. Taxpayers who exceed the limit will receive an IRS notice and a paper refund.