IRS Direct Deposit Tax Schedule 2021 — When To Expect Your Tax Refund

You did everything right — kept receipts, gathered your income forms, and filed your taxes on time. Now you’re getting a refund! But the big question is this: What is the direct deposit tax schedule and when will your tax refund arrive?

That depends, but if you filed your taxes electronically and requested your refund via direct deposit, you’ll get that money added to your account much faster than most.

See how it works, and check out our Refund Dates for Direct Deposit Versus Check Schedule below.

How It Works

The IRS processes tax returns as it receives them. If you file your tax return electronically — which is the fastest method to get the information to them — then the IRS will generally process direct deposit refunds within 7-10 days after receiving your tax return. The IRS is opening their eFile (electronic filing) for 2021 on February 12, 2021.

If you’re asking for a refund via paper check instead of direct deposit, then it takes about two weeks, plus any delays that may result at the US postal service. (The IRS just cuts the check, but it’s the mail service that gets it to you.)

Filing a paper tax return may delay your refund even further — by up to several weeks. That’s because it has to arrive through the mail (as opposed to instantly via eFile), then someone has to physically scan your tax documents into the IRS computers, and then the process of issuing a refund begins.

Bottom line? If you want a faster refund date, opt for electronic filing and a refund by direct deposit.

How to Do Direct Deposit

direct deposit tax schedule
Photo: iStock

Direct deposit is really easy to set up. Just select it as your refund method — either by telling your tax preparer or marking it on your tax software — and type in the account number (blue box, above) and routing number (yellow box, above). You can even use direct deposit if you are filing a paper tax return.

  • Don’t know your routing number? Go to your bank’s website and sign in to your account; they’ll have it listed there. You can also call the bank where you opened the account and ask them.
  • Have a prepaid debit card? Many reloadable prepaid cards have account and routing numbers you can provide to the IRS. Check with the financial institution that issued the card to confirm. (The number on the card itself may not be the account or routing numbers.)
  • Don’t have a bank account? Visit the FDIC website for information on where to find a bank that can open an account online and how to choose the right account for you. (Link below.)
  • Are you a Veteran? The Veterans Benefits Banking Program (VBBP) can help you get access to financial services at participating banks.

IMPORTANT: Make sure to put the correct bank account and routing numbers into your electronic or paper filing. Mistakes in your direct deposit information will delay your refund.

Refund Dates for Direct Deposit

Below is the direct deposit tax schedule for 2021. The dates can shift slightly on this list depending on the volume of tax forms submitted to the IRS.

The best advice? Get your taxes filed early when there are fewer people submitting their forms. The sooner you get your taxes filed, the sooner your refund will arrive.

If the IRS accepts your tax return by:Your direct deposit may be sent as soon as:Or your paper check could be mailed as soon as:
2/122/232/30
2/152/263/5
2/223/53/12
3/13/123/19
3/83/193/26
3/153/264/2
3/224/24/9
3/294/94/16
4/54/164/23
4/124/234/30
4/194/305/7
4/265/75/14

Sources4 Tax Return Tips and Tricks, IRS — Tax Filing Season, IRS — Direct Deposit Schedule, IRS — Where’s My Refund?, FDIC website, Veterans Benefits Banking Program (VBBP)