How to Get your Tax Refund Back Fast

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If you are expecting a tax refund, you probably want the IRS to process your return as quickly as possible. Taking a few simple steps at tax time can reduce your wait time by several weeks. Fill out your return carefully and file online for speedy service.

Start Early

Quick refunds start with early organization and preparation. Throughout the year keep your receipts and important documents. If you have yet to organize your tax paperwork, gather your necessary items, review them and have them in order before you sit down to do your return or meet with a tax preparer. Plan to file as soon as the IRS filing window opens. In 2015, opening day was January 20, 2015. Make an appointment to meet with a tax preparer or complete your return prior to opening day to get your return in at the earliest possible moment.

Avoid Mistakes

Errors on your tax return can delay your refund. If you are preparing your own return, make sure your name and Social Security number match what the IRS has on file. Ensure you have the necessary documentation. Make sure your return is signed or properly authorized as necessary before you file. Mathematical errors can also slow down your refund, as the IRS must correct them. Double-check your math, use a computer filing program to perform the math for you or hire a tax return preparer. If you qualify, you can get free assistance to prepare your tax return from the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) or Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs.


The IRS encourages electronic over paper returns. The timeline for a tax refund is six to eight weeks, unless it is filed electronically. An e-filed return is usually processed in less than three weeks. You can e-file using the IRS Free File if your adjusted gross income is $60,000 or less. You can also purchase commercial tax return software or speak to your tax preparer about e-filing your return.

Direct Deposit

If you request direct deposit, your tax refund will go into your bank account. This saves time as the IRS does not print a paper check and send it to you. According to the agency, tax filers who combine e-file and direct deposit can get their refunds in as quickly as 10 days. You can request that your refund be deposited into one account or split among several bank accounts.