The new year is here and it’s time to start thinking about filing your taxes, especially if you’re planning on making your final estimated tax payment by January 15th. It can be quite the hassle trying to get together all of the paperwork, forms and other required tax data, but it’s gotta be done!
If you’re one of the people who have overpaid their taxes and are expecting a refund, it can be quite the hassle waiting to hear back from the IRS as to when you’ll be getting your money, but there are things you can do to ensure a fast tax refund.
3 Ways To Ensure You Get Your Tax Refund Quickly
There are a variety of things you can do to make sure that you get your refund as quick as possible. Here are the top 3.
E-file Your Taxes This Year
If you’re one of the people who aren’t e-filing, you may want to consider going that route this year if you want to get your refund quickly. Filing a paper return can mean waiting up to four weeks to get the status of your refund.
To join the nearly 100 million others doing e-filed tax returns, all you’ll need is a computer, internet access and a tax preparation software. There are a ton of good options out there for e-filing and a while back I wrote about a few of my favorite free or low cost tax preparation options. Among them were TurboTax, CompleteTax Free, Tax Act Online Free Edition and H & R Block at Home Free Edition.
If you make less than a certain adjusted gross income you may also be eligible for the government’s Free File program where you can get free tax preparation with some affiliated companies. Check the government site linked above for details.
Check For Common Errors
If you make errors on your return it can delay your refund, so it can be a good idea to give your return a good once over before filing it. Consider checking what the IRS suggests are the most common tax-filing errors:
- Incorrect or missing Social Security numbers for you, your spouse or dependents.
- Incorrect tax entered based on taxable income and filing status.
- Checking more than one filing status.
- Errors when figuring out income, deductions, credits and exemptions.
- Withholding and estimated tax payments entered on the wrong line.
- Math errors.
- Entering items on the wrong lines.
Use Direct Deposit For Fast Refunds
One way to ensure that you get your money quick is to make sure that you’ve set up direct deposit for your refund. No only does it save time but it will prevent the check from getting lost or stolen in the mail. Just make sure to provide the IRS with your account number and routing number when filing, and your refund will be deposited directly into your account.
When Is Information About Your Refund Available?
You can go to the IRS site 72 hours after they acknowledges receipt of the return that you e-filed, and check the status of your 2011 tax return. If you filed a paper return you will have to wait up to four weeks.
When checking for your refund make sure to have a copy of your 2011 tax return available as you’ll need information from the documents when checking the refund status.
So where can you check your refund status?
Federal Refund Status
To check the status of your federal refund you can go to the IRS website and click on “Where’s My Refund“. It will ask you for your social security number, your filing status and the refund amount you were expecting. You can also call the IRS at 1-800-829-4477 (24 hours a day, seven days a week for automated refund information).
State Refund Status
For state refund status checking for your refund may be a bit more involved. Different states have different ways to check – from online to phone only. Find your state in the table below to check your refund status.