You Can Get Your 2024 Tax Refund Quicker by Doing This
Don't forget to do this while you're filing your tax return this year.
Katie TeagueWriter II
Katie is a writer covering all things how-to at CNET, with a focus on Social Security and notable events. When she's not writing, she enjoys playing in golf scrambles, practicing yoga and spending time on the lake.
ExpertisePersonal Finance: Social Security and taxes
If you know you're getting a refund this tax season, chances are you've already gathered your tax documents for when you're ready to file. The IRS has a few tips to follow to make sure you get your tax refund money back as quickly as possible.
It takes only a few extra minutes, and you'll get your refund within 21 days on average if you follow the tips, instead of the four or more weeks if you don't. (Here's another way to get your tax refund up to 5 days sooner.)
You can expect a quicker refund if you combine direct deposit with electronic filing, rather than printing out and mailing in paper tax returns. The IRS is asking taxpayers to avoid filing paper returns, if possible, and instead e-file. Filing your return the old-school way could cause another processing delay. Filing your tax return closer to the beginning of tax season rather than closer to the deadline will also set you up to get your tax return faster.
Second, direct deposit will get your tax refund faster
When you file your taxes, you usually have the option to add a bank account so you can receive your refund through direct deposit. "The best and fastest way to get your tax refund is to have it electronically deposited for free into your financial account," the IRS says. You can have your money deposited in up to three different accounts if you'd like to split up your tax refund.
In fact, the IRS recommends setting up direct deposit to avoid any delays with your refund. The average time it takes to get tax refunds back for those who filed electronically with direct deposit is less than 21 days, according to the IRS.
Direct deposit saves the government money and paper
That means in 2023, it cost taxpayers over $9 million for paper check refunds to be sent out and roughly $9.6 million for direct deposit.
Direct deposit lets you send your tax refund to multiple accounts
If you'd like to have your tax refund spread out across several accounts, now's the time to do that. When setting up direct deposit on your taxes, you can add up to three different bank accounts, which can be beneficial if you're using one as a savings account.
Set up direct deposit when you file your 2023 taxes
When filing taxes, select Direct Deposit as your refund method in your tax software, then type in your bank account and routing numbers (you can still add your bank account information even if you're not getting a refund). You can find your account and routing number on your bank's website when you sign in, call your bank branch or locate the numbers on a check or statement. You can also give your tax preparer this information if you don't file your taxes yourself.
The IRS says your refund should only be deposited directly into a US bank or US bank-affiliated account and that it needs to be in your name, your spouse's name or both if it's a joint account.
What if you don't have a bank account for direct deposit?
If you don't have a bank account and still want to set up direct deposit with the IRS, you have options. The first, and most direct, is to open a new bank account.
If you don't want to open a bank account, you can also receive your tax refund via direct deposit with a prepaid debit card. All cards that accept direct deposit will have account and routing numbers that you can enter in your tax return.