Expecting a refund when you file your taxes this year? If you’re like 75% of Americans, you are. According to the IRS, the average tax return last year was $3,000 and early reports are showing the February average is slightly higher. It’s time to get your hands on your tax refund. Here are 4 of the best ways to increase the chances you’ll see your tax refund sooner this year.
1. Electronically File
This may seem like a no-brainer because you likely e-file anyway. IRS reports show that 3 out of 4 Americans file online, whether using tax software themselves or using a tax professional who files on their behalf. This also means that 25% of returns are still paper-filed. If these filers are expecting a tax refund, their are missing out.
Filing your return online increase how quickly the IRS sees and processes your return. The IRS website even states that e-filing may be twice as fast! Most people can expect to see their refund within 21 days, as opposed to 6 to 8 weeks if you mail in the forms.
2. Direct Deposit
According to the IRS, you will receive your refund faster if you opt to use direct deposit. Electronic transfers are just faster than the U.S. Treasury issuing and mailing a check. They also allow you to split your refund into up to three separate accounts, savings or checking accounts. This can be a handy tool to help you budget out which portion of your refund you will save and which you will spend.
3. Double and Triple Check
If you are doing your taxes yourself rather than using a tax pro, check and recheck your numbers. Make sure you didn’t leave out any income. Are all of the social security numbers on your return correct? Check to see if you have forgotten any forms. These techniques sound simple but even a small error can delay your return. Additionally, while missing a deduction will not delay processing, going back to amend your taxes when you find that deduction later will delay how fast you see the money from your error.
4. File NOW
The earlier you file, the faster you will see your money. The IRS started to accept tax returns on January 31st this year but you haven’t missed the early filing window quite yet. Get your documents together and fire up the tax prep software – but act quickly!
This year the IRS seems to be staying on top of returns, despite a late start to the filing season. As an example, I filed my personal taxes on February 1st and received my tax refund 8 days later. That came as a surprise, particularly since my return is not the simplest type you can file – Form 1040-EZ. Eight days is the fastest I’ve ever seen in many years of preparing tax returns and several of my tax clients are seeing similar results this year. Act quickly and perhaps you’ll experience a quick turnaround as well!