As the term itself makes obvious, federal tax refund is nothing but a return of the excess amounts of income tax that you might have paid to the state or federal government in the past year. Since certain tax credits are fully refundable, a taxpayer may be eligible to receive federal tax refund even if he or she owed no taxes.
The Internal Revenue Service maintains a certain "refund cycle" which basically means that they follow a certain schedule for issuing federal tax refunds. If the IRS receives your tax returns by 11 am on Wednesday, it will generally issue refunds by the next week. Go to IRS Refunds. These refunds can be issued in the form of direct deposits on Wednesdays or through checks issued on Fridays. When we say receive, we mean that it is not enough for the IRS to simply receive tax returns but the issue of the final receipt of an electronically filed return by the IRS.
When should you start looking for your federal tax refund? This is a very rough estimate but it is generally a safe bet to start looking approximately 3-4 days after the electronic filing of your taxes and around a month after mailing your paper returns. Make sure you have your social security number, recently updated filing status as well as the value of your exact refund amount before starting to look for your federal tax refund.