Filing individual tax returns quickly can help expedite refund payments, but businesses have until the end of January to issue your tax documents. You may not receive relevant W-2s, 1099s and other documents until early to mid-February, and should not prepare or file your taxes without these documents. To expedite your tax return, use electronic means to submit documentation to the IRS and choose to receive your refund via direct deposit.
Use the IRS’s Free File process if your income meets certain eligibility requirements. The IRS provides instructions for finding a company that offers Free File software and a list of each company’s eligibility criteria (See Resources). They will prepare your tax return for you, or you can prepare and file the return using the company’s software.
The IRS indicates that you can receive your tax refund in as little as 10 days by using Free File and having your funds deposited directly to your bank.
Whether you file manually or electronically, if you are due a refund, the IRS will deposit the money directly to your checking or savings account, getting funds to you up to one week faster than by check.
Provide your bank account information in the Refund section of your 1040EZ, 1040A or 1040 tax form. Include your bank’s routing number and your account number, and check the relevant box to indicate whether the account is for checking or savings. Check with your financial institution to ensure you give the IRS your correct routing and account numbers, as the IRS is not responsible for lost refunds based on incorrect information.
If you prefer to have your refund split among up to three checking or savings accounts, provide the information for each bank on IRS Form 8888, Direct Deposit of Refund to More than One Account.
Use commercial software developed to help you prepare and file your taxes electronically. You can complete and file your IRS return through the software provider’s website or complete your return using their CD or downloaded software, then upload your information to the website for filing through the IRS’s e-file process. Use the software provider’s website to check the status of your return.
If you do not want to prepare your tax return yourself, contact a tax specialist who will prepare your IRS return from information you provide. You will review your completed return and authorize it, and the specialist will submit your tax return to the IRS electronically.
Consider filing your IRS return through a business that will loan your anticipated refund to you when your return is filed. You will pay interest and fees for this loan, but will have access to your refund money as soon as your IRS return is filed. Shop around to find the lowest interest and fee combination for this service.
- IRS: e-file, Your Electronic Alternatives to Filing Paper Returns
- Internal Revenue Service. "Relief for Taxpayers," Page 3. Accessed Apr. 8, 2020.
- Internal Revenue Service. "Economic Impact Payment Information Center." Accessed Aug. 30, 2020.
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- U.S. Congress. "H.R.748 - CARES Act." Accessed Apr. 8, 2020.
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- Internal Revenue Service. "Tax Season Refund Frequently Asked Questions." Accessed March 1, 2020.
- Internal Revenue Service. "1040 and 2019 1040-SR," Pages 14, 60. Accessed March 1, 2020.
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- Federal Trade Commission. "Filing A Complaint." Accessed Aug. 30, 2020.
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- Bureau of the Fiscal Service. "Tax Refund Offset." Accessed March 1, 2020.
- Taxpayer Advocate Service. "Refund Offsets." Accessed March 1, 2020.