Top 5 Tips for Getting Your Tax Refund Quickly

When will you get your tax refund and other FAQs

Tax Refund Checks Star of Republican Rally
Mark Wilson/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Here are answers to some of the questions people ask most often about how to get tax refunds from the IRS quickly, accurately, and easily .

Tax Return Tips

  1. File electronically
  2. Check your return carefully for errors and sign it before submitting it to the IRS
  3. Have your refund directly deposited into your bank account
  4. Check the status of your return with the IRS’ “Where’s My Refund?” online tool

When Will You Get Your Refund?

How quickly you receive your tax refund depends on how you filed your return, and whether you completed it accurately.

If you filed a paper tax return, in most cases it could tax the IRS up to 21 days from the date it receives your paperwork to issue your tax return.

If you want your tax refund more quickly, file your return electronically. The IRS typically issues tax refunds to electronic filers within three weeks.

The sooner you file your return, the sooner you’ll get your refund. Filing early also reduces the risk of having your refund stolen. Tax refund theft is a growing problem that occurs when someone steals your personal information and uses it to file a fake return under your name and Social Security number and pocket the refund. If you are one of the millions of Americans who had or may have had their information stolen in any of the recent data breaches, be sure to file as soon as possible. While the IRS will work to straighten out refund theft, it can delay your refund by months.

How Can You Check the Status of Your Tax Refund?

The fastest and easiest way to track your tax refund is to use the IRS' Where's My Refund? tool on the home page. To check the status of your tax refund online you will need your Social Security number, filing status, and the exact whole dollar amount of your refund shown on your return.

You can also check the status of your tax refund by calling the IRS Refund Hotline at (800) 829-1954. You will need to provide your Social Security number, your filing status, and the exact whole dollar amount of the refund shown on your return.

What Options Do You Have to Receive Your Tax Return?

The quickest way to get your tax refund into your bank account is to have it direct-deposited. But the IRS will also issue a paper check or, if you choose, U.S. Savings Bonds. You can use your refund to buy up to $5,000 in U.S. Series I savings bonds in multiples of $50.

What If You Don't Get a Tax Refund or the Amount Is Wrong?

If you get a tax refund that you either weren't expecting or is larger that you expected, do not immediately cash the check. The IRS recommends taxpayers wait for a notice explaining the difference, and then follow the instructions on that notice.

If your tax refund isn't a big as you thought it should have been, go ahead and cash the check. The IRS may determine later that you are owed more and send a separate check.

If you want to contest the amount of your tax refund, wait two weeks after receiving the refund, then call (800) 829-1040.

If you didn't get a tax refund or lost or accidentally destroyed it, you can file an online claim at "Where's My Refund" for a replacement check if it's been more than 28 days from the date that your refund was mailed.

What Else Can You Do to Make Sure You Get Your Tax Refund Quickly?

Make sure to check your return before sending it. Errors can stall the delivery or your tax refund.

The most common tax return errors, according to the IRS, are writing incorrect Social Security numbers or forgetting to enter them altogether; miscalculating the tax owed based on taxable income and marital status; entering data on the wrong lines of the form; and basic math mistakes.

mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Murse, Tom. "Top 5 Tips for Getting Your Tax Refund Quickly." ThoughtCo, Aug. 26, 2020, Murse, Tom. (2020, August 26). Top 5 Tips for Getting Your Tax Refund Quickly. Retrieved from Murse, Tom. "Top 5 Tips for Getting Your Tax Refund Quickly." ThoughtCo. (accessed January 24, 2021).

Watch Now: How to Get a Tax Refund