One of the big concerns that many Americans have around this time of year is getting a tax refund as quickly as possible.
If the government owes you a tax rebate, you want that money fast. The good news is that you can get your tax refund quicker — if you follow the right steps.
E-File Your Tax Return for Faster Processing
One way to enjoy faster processing for your tax return is to e-File. The IRS will allow you to file your tax return electronically. Your return will be in the system quickly, and in digital format.
This is much faster than the results of mailing in a paper return with the need for a human to get the mail, and then manually enter the information on your return.
You might even be able to take advantage of the Free File program. If your Adjusted Gross Income is $57,000 or less for 2011, you are eligible for the program. This means that you can use some of those listed by the IRS to use Free File and get your tax return in the system quickly at no charge.
The faster your return is submitted and processed, the sooner you'll receive your tax refund. E-File speeds the process considerably.
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If you really want to speed up your tax refund, you will e-File, and opt to receive your tax refund via direct deposit. The government will put the money it owes you right into your bank account (or load it to a debit card that accepts direct deposit). This is much faster than waiting in queue for someone to cut you a check, and then waiting for the check to be delivered to your mailbox.
Indeed, if you e-File and decide to use direct deposit, you can receive your tax refund in your account in as little as seven to 10 days. The last time I had a refund (and it's been years), I did e-File with direct deposit, and the funds were in my account in eight days. If you e-filed your taxes already, you can actually check your tax refund status through the IRS website.
It's the fastest way to receive your tax refund.
What about Instant Tax Refunds?
One of the questions that many ask, though, is whether or not it is possible to get an “instant” tax refund. Some tax preparers advertise that you can go in and have your taxes done and file your return, and then walk out with a refund check the same day. It's important to understand that this isn't a true refund. Instead, it's a loan based on your expected tax rebate.
This type of set up is known as a refund anticipation loan. It feels like you are getting an “instant” refund because you walk out with a check. However, you have to realize that you are being loaned the money, and when your actual tax refund comes in you will be expected to repay the amount — plus fees and interest. Those fees and interest can eat into what you actually get back from your tax refund. It's better to wait a week or a little more than to pay to receive your tax refund money “instantly” as a loan.