How to Ensure a Fast Tax Refund

Laura Joszt

The deadline for filing taxes isn't until April 15; but, surely, you're not going to wait until the last minute. The quickest refunds are issued in 10 days, but the majority take up to 21 days. Naturally, you'll want to be in the first group.

The deadline for filing taxes isn’t until April 15, but, surely, you’re not going to wait until the last minute. The first day to e-file is Jan. 30, and then you won’t have to worry about taxes anymore, except for wondering when that refund is coming in.

There are a few factors that can affect the length of time it takes for a taxpayer to get back his or her refund. The quicker you file, the faster the money the government owes you comes back.

For some lucky taxpayers, they will be receiving their refunds in as few as 10 days. However, the majority won’t be in that group. According to the IRS, more than 90% of refunds are issues within 21 days, which is what you should be prepared for. Plus, once the IRS issues the refund, it could take an additional five days for you to receive that money, whether you choose direct deposit or mail delivery.

The best way to get a fast refund is to e-file and opt for direct deposit.

So what can cause a return to take longer to process? According to the IRS, it might have nothing to do with any problems with your tax return:

• Common errors can delay processing and extend refund timelines. Ensure your refund arrives as expected by submitting an error-free return. Use the correct Social Security or taxpayer identification numbers, address, and bank and routing numbers if electing direct deposit.

• To balance taxpayer service, quick refunds and tax compliance, the IRS must review refunds to prevent fraudulent and erroneous refunds. These critical reviews can add time to refund processing, even for some legitimate tax returns.

• The IRS also periodically adjusts its technology systems during the filing season, which can also factor into short refund delays.

The first day to e-file is just a week away, so if you’re eager to get your refund — whether you’re looking to spend it or save it — start preparing your taxes now, so you can submit them for processing as soon as e-file opens. Then, you can sit back and relax with your refund even though other taxpayers haven’t even filed.

Read more:

The Length of Time to File Back Taxes