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How to Get Your Tax Refund Faster

When you have money coming to you, it’s natural to want that money as fast as possible. Your tax refund represents money that the government owes to you, so it is perfectly normal to want that money quickly. Once you know that you have a tax refund [3] coming to you, it’s possible to get your money in 10 days (or less) if you plan it right.

Your best bet is to combine e-file with direct deposit. That will provide you with the fastest possible tax refund.

E-File + Direct Deposit = Fast Tax Refund

The last time I received a tax refund, I actually got my money within seven days. The IRS says that you can get your money in as a little as 10 days, but in some cases you can get the money faster. It’s all about combining e-file with direct deposit.

When you e-file, your tax return gets to the IRS faster. Your electronic tax return is also easier to process. Mailing in a tax return takes much more time, not only from the standpoint of traveling over land, but also from the standpoint that someone has to open the mail and enter the information into a computer. When you e-file [4], you can reduce human error, and your return is in the system almost instantly. It goes through the system rapidly, and your refund is processed that much sooner.

Direct deposit helps speed up the rate at which you receive your return. Instead of having your refund added to a queue of checks to be cut, it can be sent directly to your bank account. You don’t have to wait for the check to arrive in the mail. When everything is handled electronically, it moves faster and smoother, and you get your refund faster. (You can also have your refund loaded on a prepaid debit card [5].)

Watch Out for “Instant” Tax Refunds

While it is natural to want your tax refund as quickly as possible, you do need to watch out for companies offering “instant” tax refunds. These aren’t actually tax refunds; they are refund anticipation loans. When your tax forms are filled out, the company offering the refund loan issues you a check, based on what you are expected to get back. You walk out with money in hand, but you are required to repay it once your real tax refund comes in. Often, the check you get isn’t for the total amount of your tax refund — you will actually lose money that you are entitled to.

Tax refund loans often come with steep interest charges. You might also have to pay a loan origination fee. It is vital that you realize that the government doesn’t issue you a tax refund instantly. Whenever a tax professional offers an “instant” tax refund, he or she is actually offering you a loan. In most cases, you are better off waiting the seven to 10 days to receive your refund from the government, rather than seeing a substantial portion of your tax refund disappear in interest and fees.

(Photo: John-Morgan [6])