11 min read

How to Get Your Tax Refund Faster


Content provided for general information. Talk to your advisor to learn about recent updates or other rules that may apply to your situation.

Here’s how long tax refunds take and what you can do to solve common tax refund delays.

When should you file your tax return?

To get your tax refund faster, file your income tax return as soon as possible.

Most tax preparation software becomes available in early to mid-January.

The Internal Revenue Service accepts tax returns starting in mid to late January.

How long does it take to get a tax refund?

The IRS says it issues 9 out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days from when you file.

You don’t need to wait until after April 15th. For example, if you file on February 1st, you can usually expect to see your tax refund by February 22nd.

The IRS refund timeline changes if you claim certain refundable credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit or Additional Child Tax Credit.

  • Federal tax law requires the IRS to not issue these refunds before February 15th.
  • This is due to the amount of fraud related to these credits. The additional time allows the IRS to receive and process tax forms from third parties like your W-2 from your employer.
  • You can still file before February 15th so you’re first in line to get your refund once these refunds start going out.
  • Your entire refund will get held if this rule applies to you. You won’t get part of your refund early and then your credit later. You’ll get a single refund after February 15th.

What day are tax refunds deposited?

There is no specific day the IRS deposits tax refunds. Your refund could arrive on any banking day.

How should you file?

File your tax return electronically whenever possible. The IRS automatically processes electronic returns. You can get your refund in your bank account in just a few weeks.

Paper returns have a longer processing time in normal times. That’s because the IRS enters them by hand.

Add several additional weeks for processing for paper returns. It also takes time for your paper return to go through the mail.

How should you request your refund?

The fastest way to get your tax refund is via direct deposit.

The IRS has faster processing for direct deposits versus checks. In addition, you don’t need to wait for the check in the mail and then go to the bank to deposit your check.

Can you get your tax refund before you file?

You may be in a situation where you substantially overpaid your taxes and want to get your money sooner. For example, you paid estimated taxes but your income was lower than you estimated.

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