As H&R Block says, “Tax Season is Refund Season.” For those getting refunds you may look forward to tax season each year. Extra money coming in when things are tight gives you a chance to do something you have not been able to accomplish with your regular monthly income.
Here Are 5 Tips to Getting Your Refund as Fast as Possible
- Get organized. As forms come in the mail or electronically keep them together in a central place. Gather receipts you have saved over the year and tabulate your deductions. Record the totals on a single page so you don’t have to keep flipping through all your papers when you fill out he tax forms. What was the total interest you paid? Total investment income you received? Being organized will help you take advantage of every deduction and increase your refund.
- File taxes early. Even among those receiving a refund, procrastinators abound. The closer you file to the April tax deadline the longer it will take to get your refund. Millions of filers wait until the last minute to file resulting in refund delays. Early filers can receive a refund in as early as 10 days where late filers may have to wait weeks.
- Decide if you want to do your own or hire a tax preparer. With today’s software DIY taxes are popular for those with simple returns. Receiving a w-2, and no major life changes, you may be able to complete an online return in about an hour. Contacting a tax preparer early will also lead to faster completion as they get busier as the tax season progresses. The more organized your information is the faster they can complete your return, which could also save you money on the cost of filing.
- Avoid refund loans. You get the refund in a matter of days. Paying a high interest rate loan is a bad deal and eats away at your refund. Companies market these as free instant refunds. The reality is the filing fees, loan fees and interest are charged on the “instant return.” Save your refund for your own financial needs, rather than padding the pockets of the lenders who promote these loans.
- File electronically and use direct deposit. Paper filings add about two weeks for the refund and getting a paper check can add another week. The IRS also reports that paper returns contain more errors than those filed electronically. That’s three additional weeks you have to wait if you mail in your refund and receive a check. Closer to the tax deadline and the wait can be as long as six weeks.
Filing taxes can be overwhelming, however, there is a lot of free help available. Online, over the phone, or in person are all options. There are free filing options for those with an income of $58,000 or less. Volunteer tax preparers are available for the elderly in most major cities. For those with tax issues or questions there are tax assistance centers that have IRS representatives available for consultations and questions. The links to all of these services can be found at https://www.irs.gov/uac/Many-Types-of-Free-Tax-Help-Available-From-the-IRS.