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How Long Does it Take to Get a Tax Refund?

By Rachel Slifka
January 15, 2020

Waiting for your tax refund to hit your bank account is no fun. In fact, you may be wondering whether there’s a faster way to get your money.

The answer is: yes. There is a faster way to get your tax refund and there are actual steps you can take to speed up the whole process. To help you get your money in the bank, take a look at how the tax refund process works. From here, you can take the necessary steps to receive your tax refund faster.

  1. How long do tax refunds usually take?
  2. 3 Tips for getting your refund check or deposit faster in 2021
  3. What to do if you still haven’t received your refund
  4. Spend Your Tax Refund Money Wisely

How long do tax refunds usually take?

The answer to this question is: It depends.

If you e-filed your return, you can expect to receive a faster refund through direct deposit. The IRS states that it can pay out most tax refunds within 21 calendar days after submission. Yet, nine out of 10 people who e-file receive their tax refunds in three weeks or less.

If you prefer to file an old-school paper tax return, you can expect a longer processing period. The IRS states it takes about six to eight weeks to process a refund once it receives your tax return. So, if you want to get your refund faster, e-file with direct deposit. You may want to consider filing online through websites like TurboTaxTaxAct, and E-file.

Once you’ve e-filed your taxes, you will need to set up how you will receive your payment. And, if you want to make sure you get your refund as fast as possible, set up direct deposit (eight out of 10 tax refunds are received via direct deposit).

If you’re a Chime member, all you have to do is choose “direct deposit” on your tax return software. You then can input your Chime Spending Account number and corresponding routing number.

From there, you just have to wait for your refund to show up in your bank account. Once your refund hits your account, Chime will send you a text alert and email. This way you will know that the money is there the second you receive it.

3 Tips for getting your refund check or deposit faster in 2021

While there isn’t any way to guarantee exactly when your tax refund will arrive, there are a couple of ways to get it even faster.

  1. File your completed tax return right away if possible (the current deadline is April 15, 2021) If you are missing W-2 forms (or 1099 forms if you are an independent contractor), then the process can take longer. So, at the beginning of January in any given tax year, be on the lookout for any forms you expect to receive. If you do not receive them by January 31, reach out to your employer or client and ask them to send these forms to you.
  2. Be prepared. Make sure you have the rest of your vital tax documents available and prepared in the event you need them
  3. Ask for help. Consider filing your taxes with a tax professional. While going to a professional won’t guarantee a faster tax refund, an expert is versed in the ins and outs of filing taxes and can advise you on making the best decisions for your particular situation.

Remember:The sooner you file your taxes, the sooner you can receive your refund 🤑

What to do if you still haven’t received your refund

If you still haven’t received your tax refund after three weeks’ time, there may be a few reasons why.

First, your tax return may have included errors, such as misspelled names, incorrect social security numbers, unsigned forms and more. To avoid errors, make sure to carefully review your tax return before you click submit. Another reason for a potential hold-up: Perhaps you were a victim of identity fraud. In this situation, the IRS may hold onto your return until it can work with you to rectify the situation.

If you still feel like things are moving slowly, here are three additional steps you can take to speed up your tax refund process:

  1. Use the IRS’ “Where’s My Refund?” online tool. It’s a quick and easy way to check the status of your tax refund. All you have to do is login to the IRS’ secure website. To access the system, you will need to input your tax filing status, your social security number and the amount you declared on your tax refund.
  2. Call the IRS to check on the status of your refund. To call the IRS, you can dial the hotline at 800-829-1964. Again, you will need to be prepared and provide your social security number, tax filing status and the amount of the refund you are expecting.
  3. Use the free IRS app, called IRS2Go. Similar to the online platform, you’ll need to enter the required information into the mobile tool. It’s never been easier to check your tax status while on the go.

Spend Your Tax Refund Money Wisely

Before you receive your tax refund, be sure to create a plan for spending or saving your newfound cash.

While spending it on a vacation or new clothes sounds appealing, it may be wiser to save your tax refund for future use. To get the most bang for your buck, consider opening a savings account through Chime. This way you can continue to grow your money faster!

This page is for informational purposes only. Chime does not provide financial, legal, or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for financial, legal or accounting advice. You should consult your own financial, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction.

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