What is a cycle date and what does it mean?

What is a cycle date?
A cycle date can be found on a completed transcript that has the 846 refund release code. The cycle date reflects the date the transaction is posted to the master file.

Ok, but what does it mean?
A cycle date will be designated by an eight digit number indicating the year, week and day of the week. (YYYYWWDD)

Ok, but I still don’t know what that means…
Let’s break it down some more:
-First four numbers indicate year.
-Next two numbers indicate week of the year
-Last two numbers indicate day of the week.

Each days is designated by a two digit number which excludes Saturday and Sunday.

 

  • Friday= 01
  • Monday= 02
  • Tuesday=03
  • Wednesday=04
  • Thursday=05

 

I think I’m starting to get it, but maybe you can give me an example?
Cycle date: 20170505
Year: 2017 Week: 05 Day: 05
Wednesday of the 4th week of 2017
Actual date: February 2, 2017

Ok I get it now, but can that tell me when I should get my refund?

If you have the Refund Release Code (846) then you can figure out your DDD.
To figure it out add four business days to the cycle date.
For checks mailed add six business days to the cycle date.

Source:
IRS Manual
Part 3. Submission Processing
Chapter 30. Work Planning and Control
Section 123. Processing Timeliness: Cycles, Criteria and Critical Dates
IMF Daily Processing 3.30.123.4.9 (updated 01-01-2017)