Many people don’t necessarily look forward to the start of tax season. But if you have reason to believe you’re due a large refund, then you may be eager to get your taxes in early to snag that money as soon as possible.
The 2022 tax-filing season (during which you’ll submit your 2021 return) is now officially open. And that means that the sooner you gather your paperwork and get your return completed, the sooner your refund might arrive.
That said, there are steps you can take to expedite that refund and avoid holdups. Start with these to get your cash as quickly as possible.
1. File electronically
When it comes to submitting your taxes, you have two choices. You can file electronically, or you can go old school and submit a paper return.
If you’re used to the latter, you may be inclined to stick with what you know. But this really isn’t the year to file your taxes on paper. If you do, your return will need to be processed manually. And given that the IRS is sitting on massive backlogs from 2021, submitting a paper return could substantially increase your chances of a delay in your refund.
Even when the IRS isn’t deep in the throes of catch-up mode, refunds from paper returns tend to have double the turnaround as those of returns filed electronically — six weeks versus three. And so it pays to have your taxes done electronically, whether you file them yourself or use a professional.
2. Sign up for direct deposit
The IRS is willing to send your tax refund straight into your bank account. All you need to do is sign up for direct deposit, as opposed to a check in the mail, and that alone could make it so your refund arrives a few days faster.
That said, be careful when entering your banking details. If you put in the wrong account or routing number, your refund will likely get bounced back to the IRS, thereby resulting in a holdup.
3. Avoid errors on your tax return
Submitting an error-free tax return could be your ticket to a faster refund. Or, to put it another way, if your return contains mistakes, your refund may be delayed extensively while the IRS works with you to sort those errors out.
Here are some specific errors to be mindful of:
Inputting the wrong Social Security number
Choosing the wrong tax-filing status
Claiming the wrong deductions
Copying the wrong information from your W-2 or 1099 forms
If you want to avoid errors, give yourself plenty of time to tackle your tax return so you’re not rushing through the process. And also, file electronically. You’re less likely to make a math error in particular if you take this approach.
Get the money you’re entitled to
Many people think of a tax refund as a windfall of sorts. In reality, it’s not a bonus — it’s money you were entitled to last year but didn’t collect up front. And so it’s essential that you get your hands on that cash as quickly as possible, especially if you’re struggling with bills due to inflation. By filing electronically, signing up for direct deposit (correctly), and avoiding tax return errors, you could set yourself up to get the money you’re entitled to sooner — and avoid the stress that comes with refund delays.
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