If you want to receive your 2024 tax return in less than three weeks, the IRS recommends filing online and choosing direct deposit. It's a much faster way to get your tax refund, compared to a paper check that can take three to eight weeks to arrive. Still, if you prefer snail mail, you can easily track your paper check by receiving notifications from the US Postal Service.

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The US Postal Service has a tracking tool that lets you know when you can expect your tax refund to arrive in your mailbox. It's called Informed Delivery, and the free service sends alerts about all new mail – and broadcasts images of the front of letters so you know exactly what's arriving.

This story is part Taxes 2024CNET's coverage of the best tax software, tax tips and everything else you need to file your return and track your refund.

Informed Delivery doesn't take photos of incoming packages, but it does track them and also lets you add an electronic signature to receive packages when you're not at home.

The process for setting up and using USPS Informed Delivery is quite simple – we'll explain how to do it. To learn more about tax season and the post office, learn about CNET's picks for the best tax software for 2024 and whether you need to file a tax return if you receive Social Security benefits.

USPS Informed Delivery: Track your check directly to your mailbox

Informed delivery is a free postal mail tracking service that automatically checks incoming letters and can send you an image whenever something with your address is about to be delivered.

When the U.S. Postal Service passes mail through its automated sorting equipment, it creates a digital image of the front of all letter-sized mail. Anyone who signs up for Informed Delivery can benefit from this information by asking the post office to notify you when each piece of mail with your name is on its way. Please note that it may take three days to activate your account.

As part of the program, you will receive an email every morning, Monday through Saturday (except federal holidays), to notify you that mail has been delivered to you. You will also see a grayscale image of the front of the card. Delivery Informado has free apps for Android It is iOSalso.

Please be aware that subscribing means you will see all your correspondence that is scanned by the post office. You can cancel the service at any time. Read on for details on how to sign up for Informed Delivery.

You can also track your packages at the post office

With Informed Delivery, you can check the delivery status of your packages and when they are scheduled to arrive. However, the post office does not capture an image of your packages. You can use the service to create an electronic signature to receive packages when you are not at home.

USPS Reported Delivery: How to Receive Notifications

Informed Delivery has some limitations. For example, it will work with many residential and personal PO box addresses – but not businesses. It also won't work for some residential buildings where the post office has not yet identified each unit.

To check if Informed Delivery is available in your area, visit US Postal Service Informed Delivery Page.

1. Touch Sign up for free.

two. Enter your mailing address and confirm if it will work with the service; then accept the terms and conditions and tap Continue.

3. On the next page, choose a username, password and security questions. Enter your contact information and tap Continue.

4. On the next page, you will need to verify your identity. Touch Verify identity online if you want to receive a verification code on your phone or tap Request the invitation code by mail if you want the post office to send you a code. You may also have the option of visiting a post office to verify your identity in person.

For more tax tips, learn when Tax Day is this year and what to do if you don't receive your W-2 form by the end of January.