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2013 Refund Cycle Chart for IRS Tax Returns

Updated on June 20, 2014

Tax Season is Finally Here

There's a special holiday that falls after Christmas but before Valentine's Day. If you're not sure which holiday I'm referring to, you probably don't get an IRS tax refund each year.

Affectionately nicknamed the "Poor Folk's Christmas" by refund recipients across the United States, tax time is the chance to get a generously sized chunk of your hard-earned money back and use it to catch up on bills, shop, or take a much-needed vacation. Some people are even lucky enough to score a refund larger than the amount of money that they paid into the system through payroll deduction or quarterly payment estimates.

Like many Americans, I frantically searched Google for a 2013 refund cycle chart for my 2012 IRS tax forms. I kept seeing announcements that the government would not be releasing a refund disbursement schedule for 2012 returns, but I hoped that was just an error. Turns out it wasn't and there's no set 2013 tax refund schedule.

That doesn't mean that you can't interact with other filers and try to figure out a pattern, though. Sites are popping up all over the internet that promise to deliver up-to-date info on tax issues, free IRS forms, and 2013 tax refund dates. Many of them are pretty helpful and will hopefully give you an answer to the popular "where's my 2013 IRS direct deposit?" question.

Image Credit: Flickr - John Morgan

Why Isn't There a 2013 Refund Cycle Chart?

Nobody really knows why the IRS didn't release a 2013 tax refund schedule this year. released a statement in January stating that a chart would not be provided for 2012 federal returns. The statement included some of the generic info about how most filers can expect a refund within 21 days, blah blah blah. If you've ever checked Where's My Refund on the IRS website, you've seen that stupid message a million times and probably want to scream each time you read it.

Some filers speculate that the IRS failed to provide a 2013 refund deposit chart due to all of the issues that occurred during 2012. Technical glitches caused hundreds of thousands of returns to freeze in the system, causing massive delays in the refund process and leading to inaccurate direct deposit dates. I was one of the filers affected and did not receive my deposit until late February despite the fact that I had filed in mid January.

Other folks believe that the IRS got sick of people calling every two minutes to ask about missing deposits. Remember, the IRS has no control over how long your bank or credit union holds your refund. Some banks may hold the funds for up to 5 days, but most release government payments immediately.

Feedback About 2013 IRS Refunds

Will you receive a refund from the IRS in 2013?

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File Your Own Taxes - Don't pay someone to do something you can easily do yourself

Filing an Education Credit Might Delay Your Refund

Form 8863 is not your friend this year

Many 8863'ers, the term used to describe students filing the education credit, were devastated to learn that their refunds would not be processed until mid to late February. It's no secret that students usually don't have gobs of cash laying around the house, and some of these refund recipients planned on paying for spring courses or textbooks with the funds from the IRS.

While there are filers who swear that Form 8863 is being processed already, the does not agree. A recent statement says that the IRS will begin accepting forms with education credits on Sunday, February 10th and will process them as early as Thursday, February 14th.

If you have already filed a federal tax return with the 8863 credit and it has not yet been approved by the IRS, you may be able to file a second 2012 IRS return without your school's info. Keep in mind that you'll still need to file amended 2012 tax documents in May to get your education credit. Please discuss this plan with a licensed tax professional first as I am not responsible for any inconveniences caused by your decision (not like you'd get much if you sued me anyway).

Other 2012 IRS Tax Forms That May Cause Refund Delays - Adoption expense, mortgage interest, and some business costs might lead to a longer wait

The 2012 fiscal cliff led to delays in updating the system for IRS tax forms. As a result of this mess, some US citizens can't file a return until late February or early March of 2013. An official filing date has not yet been announced. The IRS claims this won't affect many tax filers, but you can be the judge of that.

Folks who might have to wait until March include people filing Form 8839 for Qualified Adoption Expenses, Form 3800 for General Business Credits, Form 8908 Energy Efficient Home Credit, Form 8396 Mortgage Interest Credit, and Form 5884 Work Opportunity Credit. The full list of delays that affect 1040 filers can be viewed here.

Money to Burn...Maybe

What are the funds from your 2012 return going toward?

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Will Taking My Tax Documents to a Licensed Tax Preparer Speed up the Refund Process?

Don't waste money taking your IRS W2 or IRS W4 2013 paperwork to one of those well-known tax offices. You can if you want to, but it definitely won't help you get your money any faster.

I do my own taxes each year with TaxACT. I have several friends who also claim that TurboTax is wonderful, but I haven't tried that program yet. I tend to stick with one company.

Filing taxes with TaxACT is free for some filers. Other filers can elect to have the fees deducted from their refund instead of paying upfront, but you do pay around $17.95 for that privilege. Pay in advance if you can.

How Can I Get My Tax Refund Faster?

Electing to receive your federal tax refund via direct deposit is the easiest way to get your money fast. In 2012, laws were passing outlawing the popular Refund Anticipation Loans (RALs) offered by many tax chains. RALs charged interest rates comparable to those of payday loans and all the bigwigs thought that was an issue - probably because they've never been super broke and in desperate need of cash - so they banned RALs for good. Liberty Tax still offers some type of tax loan, but they aren't allowed to refer to it as a RAL.

If you're reading this and thinking, "Well, I wish I could get a bank account, but my credit sucks and I have entries in Chex Systems", don't give up hope just yet. Prepaid cards like the Visa UPside allow you to receive your tax refund via direct deposit as long as the amount isn't higher than $10,000. You can also try, which I have and love. It's a prepaid card from American Express and I use it to receive payments from clients who don't like PayPal.

Other prepaid options: Netspend, Walmart card, and Account Now. Keep in mind that some of these cards have a monthly fee. As of now, has no monthly fee and even comes with free roadside assistance. I'd recommend trying that card out first if you are unable to get a bank account due to credit issues.

Who Else Feels Like This After Filing?

2013 Refund Dates for 2012 Taxes

Have you received your federal refund yet?

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When Will I Get a Direct Deposit Date?

The only thing worse than waiting for your 2013 tax money to arrive is waiting for a direct deposit date from the IRS. Go to and check "Where's My Refund?" for semi-current info about the status of your 2012 IRS tax forms, but make sure not to check it more than three times in a 24-hour period. Doing so will cause you to get locked out of the system. Getting locked out won't affect your refund status or cause you to get audited, but it will give you a slight heart attack when you get the "not found" message.

Calling the WMR hotline is usually much more effective than checking online, and you can call as many times as you want. The number for that is (800) 829-1040. You can also call and ask to speak to a live IRS rep, but they usually won't give you much information about your return. They'll claim they can't see your info but that's just not true. Call back a few times if you absolutely must - eventually you'll get a nice employee who is willing to give you a direct deposit date for your IRS 2013 refund.

I Need to Amend My 2012 Tax Return...What Do I Do?

If you filed your taxes in 2013 and realized that you made an error, don't be scared! The IRS gives tax payers three years to fix all tax-related errors on federal returns. Simply fill out a 1040X and submit your amended 2012 tax return. You can file an amended tax form for any error, from forgetting to claim an education credit to accidentally leaving off a W2 from an employer. Even if the IRS owes you a bigger refund, don't be scared to file the 1040X! It won't automatically result in an audit, despite what the rumor mongers tell you.


You can't file an amended return electronically. Make sure to print it out and mail it to your local IRS office.

Watch Some Funny Tax Videos When You're Not Busy Stalking WMR - Remy always has something hilarious to say

Who Has Tax Season Fever? - Raise Your Hand!

This is How I File My Taxes Too - This man is jammin'

Image and Media Credits

The hilarious pics in this article were found on Some e-Cards. Pictures from Some e-Cards are allowed to be shared on blogs, websites, and other places.

The tax videos were all found on YouTube.

Is Tax Season Nerve-Wracking or What? - Share your thoughts on the lack of a 2013 tax refund cycle chart or any other tax-related topics

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    • HSP Connections profile image

      Peter Messerschmidt 

      5 years ago from Port Townsend, WA, USA

      Enjoyed reading this, even though it's "too late" in my world... tax season is always a heavy gig around here as it involves doing Schedule C's for FOUR home-based businesses...

    • sikiriki profile image


      5 years ago

      Nice lens:-)

    • InvestLetters profile image


      5 years ago

      Can't wait until it's over

    • ThisisMissyMiss profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from The Fabulous Midwest

      @andrewdar: Thanks, Andrew. I'm glad you found it useful! Tax time can be such a nightmare sometimes.

    • andrewdar profile image


      5 years ago

      Very useful lens about taxes.

    • ThisisMissyMiss profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from The Fabulous Midwest

      @Cushk: Glad you enjoyed it, Cushk. My daughter picked the last one herself so I promised I'd put it on. She figured it would keep people entertained while they waited to hear back about their refunds.

    • Cushk profile image


      5 years ago

      I LOVED that second last video. The last one was kind of cool too but I didn't really see the point of it.


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