By now, many have already filed their taxes. However, there are some who have filed for an extension and still need to file. With the average refund being $3,053 for the 2016 filing season, it is no wonder everyone wants to get their hands on their refund as soon as possible. Here are some things that you can do to make sure you get that cash sooner.

Firstly, filing your taxes online will typically get you your refund quicker. With 94% of people deciding to e-file their taxes, this is something that many of us have picked up on. For those that are not in the 94%, or for individuals interested in learning about what other filing options they have, NerdWallet put together a nice list detailing what is available to you. Here it is below:

  1. Free e-file using one of the IRS’ free file brand name partners for those who make under $64,000 a year.
  2. Free e-file using one of the IRS’ free file fillable forms with no income limitations.
  3. Free e-file using a free online tax software.
  4. Paying for a more complex e-file through an online service or downloadable software. People that usually need such a service don’t have a simple return. These can be for individuals making freelance income or for a small business.
  5. Free filing for state returns. Here is a state by state list with their respective options.

When you go to e-file, make sure you have your W-2 handy. Your employer has until January 31st to send it you, but be aware that some employers make it available much sooner as an electronic document. I have personally received them via email, which I prefer over paper. And what is nice about having an electronic copy is that if you go through an online tax preparer, they will most likely allow you import it.  

The fastest way to get your refund is to opt for direct deposit. This will allow your refund to go through the U.S. Treasury and directly into your bank account. If you do not do it this way, and select the paper option, it can take up to 8 weeks to get it back—that’s a long time to wait for your money.  By selecting the direct deposit method, you can distribute your return up to three checking or savings accounts. It can also be distributed to up to three different financial institutions. You can request a split refund by filling out the IRS form 8888.

After filing, the IRS has a nifty tool called Where’s My Refund that allows you to track its progress. If you e-file, you can start tracking your refund after 24 hours from when you filed. If you do it through the mail, you will have to wait 4 weeks. If you file electronically, the IRS should notify you when they have received it, approved it, and have sent it to you.

If you are part of our membership program, you can use the free Tax Prep Service that is included with your membership. This allows us to help you prepare a 1040EZ tax return. If your tax return is more complex, talk to one of your specialists to see if there are any additional charges.  If you are not a member and would like to sign up, you can to get started.