Tax refund 2024: Free calculators, direct deposit, remote work and everything else you need to know

Once again, tax season is here, and millions in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are preparing their returns. Here's what you need to know about checking your refund status, getting your money back quickly, and making sure you don't miss any important deadlines.

Direct File program rollout begins

This year, the IRS is introducing its new Direct File pilot program, which allows eligible people to file their taxes, for free, directly with the IRS. 

The pilot is being rolled out in phases and is not yet available to the public. It is expected to be more widely available by mid-March. 

Direct File is not to be mistaken with the agency's existing Free File program, which offers commercial software for free to low- and middle-income earners and fillable forms to all, though the forms are complicated and taxpayers still have to calculate their tax liability.

The small-scale rollout of the Direct File pilot is part of the agency’s effort to build out a new government service that could replace some taxpayers’ use of commercial tax preparation software such as TurboTax. It's meant to be simple and provides a step-by-step walkthrough of easy-to-answer questions.

How big will my tax refund be?

You can use a tax refund calculator to find out how much your refund will be before you get it back.

Companies like TurboTax, H&R Block and NerdWallet offer free calculators online.

You can also use the Tax Withholding Estimator from the Internal Revenue Service to estimate how much federal income tax you should withhold.

What Do Remote Workers Need To Know For Tax Season?

Working from home? You could be in for a tax shock this tax-filing season!

According to FOX Business, depending on where you live and where your employer is based, you may be subject to the income tax rules of two — or more — states.

When a person lives in one state but works in another, they may have tax liability in both states, the report says. Typically, taxpayers receive a credit to eliminate double taxation.

But there are five states that tax people where their office is located — even if that person does not physically work in the state. 

Locally, Connecticut and New York have the so-called "conveinience rule" in place. That means they can impose income tax on employees, even if they are working remotely in other states if they are employed by a company that is headquartered within their borders, the report says. Unless employees live and work in a state with no income tax, they could be taxed twice.

FOX Business says many states have reciprocity agreements in place that allow neighboring states to tax cross-border workers entirely based on residency — avoiding the complexities of filing, or paying, in two states.

There are 30 reciprocal agreements across 16 states and the District of Columbia, according to the Tax Foundation.

For example, if you live in Maryland but work over the border in Pennsylvania, you would not pay Pennsylvania taxes or file a tax return in that state. You would only have to pay Maryland taxes and file a return in the state in which you reside.

New Jersey and Pennsylvania have a reciprocal agreement, but New York and Connecticut do not have one with any other states.

What's My Tax Refund Status? Check Where's My Refund:

The IRS has a free online tool you can use to check the status of your tax refund.

Here’s how it works. Jump online and head to

Your refund status will appear around 24 hours after you e-file a current-year return, three or four days after you e-file a prior-year return, or four weeks after you file a paper return.

Your refund information is updated once a day, overnight. You’ll need your Social Security or individual taxpayer ID number (ITIN), your filing status, and the exact refund amount on your return.

Where's My Refund shows your refund status like this:

Return Received – We received your return and are processing it.

Refund Approved – We approved your refund and are preparing to issue it by the date shown.

Refund Sent – We sent the refund to your bank or to you in the mail. It may take 5 days for it to show in your bank account or several weeks for your check to arrive in the mail.

Why Is My Tax Refund Delayed?

If your tax return needs corrections or extra review, your refund may be delayed.

Also, if the IRS needs more information to process your return, you can expect a letter.

Here are some other reasons your refund might be taking longer.

Does the IRS Have a Tax Refund Phone Number?

Need to speak with someone about your tax return?

Use Where's My Refund, call the IRS at 800-829-1954 (toll-free) and use the automated system, or speak with a representative by calling 800-829-1040 (see telephone assistance for hours of operation).

You can also use these contacts to find out if your federal tax refund check was cashed.

I Lost My Tax Refund Check. What Do I Do?

I lost my refund check. How do I get a new one?

Believe it or not – it happens!

If you lost your refund check, the IRS says you should initiate a refund trace.

If the check wasn't cashed, you'll receive a replacement check once the original check is canceled.

If the refund check was cashed, the Bureau of the Fiscal Service (BFS) will provide you with a claim package that includes a copy of the cashed check.

Here’s more information on what to do.

When Is The Last Day To File Taxes?

File by April 15, 2024, to be on time.

Need more time? You can request an automatic 6-month extension of time to file. But remember, an extension of time to file is not an extension of time to pay.

Here's more about the deadlines you need to meet.

More IRS Tax Refund Online Resources:

If you’re not getting a refund and need to make a payment, you can do that here.

You can also get your tax record, find forms and instructions, and get answers to more of your tax questions online.