Info on Filing Your Taxes and Getting the Fastest Refund Possible
Getting the fastest tax refund? It’s the most (only?) exciting thing about filing taxes, and probably what you care about the most. So, if the IRS owes you money, here are some ways you can speed up the process.
The IRS announced this week that you can file your personal tax return starting January 24. That’s more than two weeks earlier than in 2021. But you don’t need to wait until then to gather your information together. This is a quick list of things to have ready. Some of these are obvious, but it doesn’t hurt to be reminded!
- Social Security numbers for you, your spouse and any dependents.
- Birth dates for everyone listed above.
- All your wage and earnings statements. Those can include one or more W-2, W-2G, 1099-R, 1099-SSA, 1099-NEC, or 1099-MISC forms (among others). If you want help figuring out that jumble of numbers and letters, give us a call.
- Interest (1099-INT) and dividend (1099-DIV) earnings statements.
- A copy of last year’s return if you have one.
- Bank routing and account numbers for Direct Deposit.
- The total you paid for daycare, along with the daycare provider’s tax ID number (Social Security number, or EIN if they have one).
- Form 1095-A, the Health Insurance Marketplace Statement. If you went through the state’s website (Healthfinder in Washington) and got help with your insurance premiums, you must file a copy of this form.
- For filing in 2022: IRS letter 6149, which shows the advance Child Tax Credit payments you received. Also letter 6475, which gives you the amount of your 2021 Economic Impact Payment. That last one is the COVID stimulus payment that arrived around April last year.
Got all that stuff ready to go on January 24? Good! The earlier you file, the shorter the time you should have to wait for your refund. The IRS officially says you should receive your refund within 21 days. But taxpayers who file that first week should get their money in about a week! That is, if you
Almost everyone can file electronically. If you can, you should. And as professional tax preparers, the government requires us to file your return that way, unless you insist on using a paper return. Filing a paper return will generally add three or four weeks to the processing time. And in addition to filing electronically, you should
Use Direct Deposit
Having the IRS deposit your money directly into your bank account makes a real difference in getting the fastest refund. The IRS has been urging (practically begging) everyone who can to file electronically and use Direct Deposit this year (and every year after that).
What Can Slow You Down
The consensus among tax experts is that if you’re getting the Child Tax Credit and/or the Earned Income Tax Credit, you can expect to add three to four weeks onto your processing time. It’s unfortunate, but there has been pretty substantial fraud involving those credits. So the IRS is checking these returns much more carefully.
Other things that can pump the brakes include certain debts (past years’ taxes still owed, or unpaid child support), as well as unreported/incorrectly reported income. Even when it’s an honest mistake. If your numbers don’t match the numbers the IRS received from employers, for example, that will mean the IRS has to process your return manually.
What Won’t Slow You Down
Believe it or not, if you’re still waiting for your tax refund from last year, that doesn’t mean that this year’s will get stuck, too. And even if you are still waiting on the IRS to process last year’s return (or amended return), there’s no reason to wait for them to finish. File this year’s now!
The Fastest Refund of All
The fastest refund is not overpaying taxes in the first place. If you carefully figure your withholding, taking into account your deductions and expected credits, you can end the year having paid close to exactly the tax you owe. And you’ll have that money you would have waited a year for ready and waiting in your pocket.
Once you file, you can use the helpful Where’s My Refund tool on the IRS website.
The IRS also has a tool to help you fill out your W-4 to get the exact size refund you want.
Lastly, you can learn more about our services here!