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Refund FAQs

  1. Why are refunds taking longer for the 2016 tax filing season?

    We are taking additional steps to protect Illinois taxpayers from identity theft and fraud. To ensure the security and confidentiality of taxpayer information, we have initiated a review process to combat against fraudulently filed returns. As a result of the new security measures, refunds may take longer to process this year than in previous years.

  2. What is the fastest way to get my refund?

    Filing your tax return electronically and requesting direct deposit is the fastest way to obtain your refund and helps prevent filing errors, such as incorrect math. There is NO ADVANTAGE to filing a paper Form IL-1040.

  3. What can I do to ensure I get my refund as quickly as possible?

    • As soon as you have all the necessary tax documents in your possession, file your tax return electronically and request that your refund be direct deposited into your bank account.
    • Avoid common mistakes that can delay the processing of your return.
      • Enter your correct Social Security number, name, address, and direct deposit information.
      • Include any required supporting documents (e.g., W-2 and 1099 forms, Schedule ICR, Schedule M, page 1 of your federal return).
      • Review the entries you make on each line for accuracy.

    If we find an error on your return, we will notify you of the error and any required steps to correct the error.

  4. Is the refund delay related to the budget situation in Illinois?

    No. Tax refunds are not subject to appropriation and, therefore, not being held up due to the absence of a state budget.

  5. How can I check on the status of my refund after I have filed my return?

    You may click on the Where’s My Refund? link on our website. Please note: Where’s My Refund? only allows you to check the current year's refund status.

  6. What information is available through “Where’s My Refund?”

    Where’s My Refund? will provide you the following information for the current tax filing season:

    • whether we have received your Illinois Individual Income Tax return,
    • if your return is being processed or has completed processing,
    • the time frame in which you should expect your refund to be direct deposited or mailed,
    • if your return did not result in a refund, and
    • if a notice was sent to you about a change to your refund as a result of our processing.

    Once an expected time frame for your refund is provided, you can check the Comptroller’s Find Your Illinois Tax Refund System for updated information.

  7. How often is “Where’s My Refund?” updated?

    Where’s My Refund? will update each business day. If your refund status has changed, it would be available the next business day.

  8. Can I find out the exact date I will get my refund?

    No. We can only provide a projected time frame. Many different factors can affect the timing of the refund after we receive your return for processing, including filing errors, excessive processing volume, and additional security protocols.

  9. What does it mean when “Where’s My Refund?” says that a date for my refund has not been determined?

    Once your refund is approved, we release the information to the Comptroller to issue your refund. The Comptroller then releases detailed information back to us about your refund. Until we receive information back from the Comptroller, we are unable to provide you a date for your refund. Once we receive the information, Where’s My Refund? will update with more details. This process usually takes between 24 and 48 hours.

  10. What if I am counting on my refund for something important?

    You should not rely on receiving your refund by a certain date to make major purchases or pay other financial obligations. Many different factors can affect the timing of your refund after we receive your return for processing. Also, if you are anticipating a refund by direct deposit, take into consideration the time it takes for your financial institution to post the refund to your account. If you anticipate a paper refund check, please take into consideration the time it takes for mail delivery.

  11. What happens after my refund is issued?

    If you requested a refund via direct deposit, your refund will be issued to the bank account listed on your tax return. It can take up to two business days from the time the refund is released to be deposited into your account. If you requested a refund via paper check or debit card, your refund will be mailed to you. It can take up to 10 business days from the time the refund is released for you to receive your refund in the mail.

  12. Is the estimated date provided by my tax preparer or third-party tax software a guarantee of when I will get my refund?

    No. Many different factors can affect the timing of the refund after we receive your return for processing, including filing errors, excessive processing volume, and additional security protocols.

  13. Will calling Taxpayer Assistance help me get my refund faster?

    No. Calling Taxpayer Assistance will not speed up the processing of your return. We process more than six million individual income tax returns each year, and our telephone assistors are not the people who actually process tax returns. The best way to check the status of your refund is to click on the Where’s My Refund? link on our website.

  14. I requested a direct deposit refund and it is now being mailed as a paper check. Why?

    You may be receiving a paper check due to one of the following reasons:

    • We could not verify the bank account information provided on your return.
    • This is the first year you filed a Form IL-1040.
    • Your financial institution did not honor the direct deposit request.
    • Your financial institution is located outside of the United States.