Looking forward to that refund check?

Most taxpayers will only have to wait 21 days to receive their refund checks from the IRS. This is similar to previous years. However, if you are planning to file as early as possible and count the days until your refund check arrives, here are a few simple steps that will help assure there are no delays.

Find a proper place or filing system for your important tax documents. This includes all w-2’s, bank statements, brokerage statements, mortgage statements, IRA and 401K statements, charitable deductions, medical and health savings account information, child and dependent care information, student loan information, scholarship paperwork, job related expenses, disaster repair receipts, home office expenses and finally energy efficiency or solar installation paperwork (at least for a few years more.)

Filing Status, Deductions and Credits

Once you have determined your filing status there are two ways to look at the way you file. If you have a lot of deductions, itemizing may be the way to go. However, if you have fewer deductions, taking the standard deduction, may make better sense. E-file.com’s filing software can help you determine which is best for you.

Deductions are subtracted from your income, before you figure out the amount of tax you owe, according to the IRS.

Understand the tax credits you may be entitled to. The IRS has a simple explanation for the two types of credits available:

  • A nonrefundable tax credit means you get a refund only up to the amount you owe.
  • A refundable tax credit means you get a refund, even if it’s more than what you owe.

In a nutshell, you are instructed to subtract tax credits from that amount you may owe in taxes.

Filing electronically and selecting a direct deposit, will help expedite your refund.

Unfortunately, for those who choose to mail their return in and/or are requesting to receive a paper check from the government, may have to wait much longer than 21 days. If you have e-filed your tax return, you can expect to be able to check the status of the return within 24 hours after e-filing. However, if you mailed your return in it may take as much as 4 weeks to be able to check the status of the return.

In order to check your refund status, it’s important to have saved a copy of what you filed either electronically or on paper, by US mail. You will need your Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification number, filing status and refund amount as shown on the return.

The IRS2Go app

The IRS now has a downloadable app called the IRS2Go app, that helps filers streamline the process of checking for their refunds.

In 2017, the IRS began accepting returns starting January 23. There is a glitch, however, for taxpayers who claim the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit: the IRS cannot issue those refunds before mid-February. The law requires the IRS to hold the entire refund — even the portion not associated with the EITC or ACTC.

The IRS anticipates 2018 EITC/ACTC related refunds to be available in taxpayer bank accounts starting Feb. 27, 2018, if they chose direct deposit and there are no other issues with the tax return.

In summary, get yourself organized, understand your deductions or credits and be aware of your filing status. Then be smart about filing, double check every column and save a copy. If you want a faster refund, file electronically and instruct the government to direct deposit your refund. Then download the app mentioned above or go online to track your refund and above all use it wisely.