Thanks to the stimulus, extended tax credits, and deductions, more and more Americans are qualifying for tax refunds. While most people who qualify for a refund are happy to wait the 6-8 weeks after your taxes have been filed to get their refund, other Americans can’t wait that long. For people like I used to be, who rely on getting taxes back in order to pay rent or fix a car or get kids new shoes, a fast refund can be critical, even life changing.
Fortunately, getting a fast refund is incredibly easy to do and can not only help you get your money faster–it can make you money. Here’s how:
- Use a filing service that does Refund Anticipation Loans. Refund Anticipation Loans (or RALs) are a way to get your refund before it has even been officially approved by the IRS. If you use the right filing service, they use your reported refunded amount, plus some fancy math, to determine what you will be getting. Then they give you a loan for that amount, minus a small fee. It’s not an official fast refund (you have to pay them back when the real one comes through), but for many taxpayers it’s been a lifeline to much needed cash.
- File early. People usually end up waiting a while for their refunds because the IRS tends to get very backed up in April because so many people wait to file. Don’t be one of them. Submit your taxes as early as January or February! It’s a great idea for a few reasons–if you use an accountant for filing, they’re less busy, which means they have more time to find credits and deductions for you (saving you money). It also means you get fast tracked by the IRS without paying extra. A fast refund is easier for everyone to do when there’s fewer to process.
- Use direct deposit. Even if you get an RAL, even if you file early, use direct deposit. Because no matter how fast a refund you get doing those things, a direct deposit cuts your wait time drastically. Taxpayers waiting for a check from the government usually have to wait a couple of months–pushing getting their refund back until June. Taxpayers who use direct deposit sometimes wait as little as one week. That’s a fast refund! The only reason not to do direct deposit is if you don’t have a checking account.
So now that you’ve gotten that refund, how do you save money with it? If you don’t need to earmark it for essentials, like food or rent, I suggest using some of it to pay down any debts you might have. Debt drains the American taxpayer of more money than the IRS and the faster you can get out of it, the better. But you can also invest some of that money–even if that means just putting it in a savings account. When you’re refund gets to you before June, you have a chance to make more compound interest from it, which makes you money. So try and get a fast refund this year and earn!