January 21, 2013 : Jenna Bromberg - Past Contributor
FAQ: When Can I File My 2012 Taxes? What Factors Affect How Quickly I’ll Receive My Refund?
As you know, the IRS will not begin accepting individual income tax returns until January 30th. But you can — and should — come into an H&R Block Office or use H&R Block at Home to prepare your taxes now. The sooner you get your taxes done, the better your chances of receiving your refund as quickly as possible.
Confused about something? Here are answers to a few of the questions you’ve been asking.
I keep hearing that “e-file” won’t open until the 30th. What does that mean, exactly?
There are two ways the IRS accepts tax returns: paper file (your paper return is sent via snail mail) and through e-file (your tax return is submitted to the IRS electronically). The vast majority of taxpayers e-file — nearly all tax preparers use e-file, and many are now actually required by law to e-file. All H&R Block Offices and the H&R Block at Home and online services submit your tax return via e-file. So, what the ‘e-file opening date’ means is that the IRS will not begin processing any tax returns (no matter how you file) until January 30th — whether you do your taxes online or in an office.
So, how quickly will I receive my tax refund?
Once the IRS begins accepting and processing tax returns on January 30th, 2013, you can expect up to 21 days for your return to be processed and your refund to be issued. Although you may have received a refund in a much quicker time frame in years past, we advise you to plan for a 21-day turnaround.
The IRS lists a few factors that affect how quickly you receive your refund:
- Common errors can delay processing and extend refund timelines. Ensure your refund arrives as expected by submitting an error-free return. Use the correct Social Security or taxpayer identification numbers, address, and bank and routing numbers if electing direct deposit.
- To balance taxpayer service, quick refunds and tax compliance, the IRS must review refunds to prevent fraudulent and erroneous refunds. These critical reviews can add time to refund processing, even for some legitimate tax returns.
- The IRS balances customer service and tax compliance by reviewing tax returns to prevent fraudulent and erroneous refunds. These critical reviews could add time to refund processing, even for some legitimate returns.
- The IRS may need time to fix a simple error, like a math error.
- Refund timeframes can also be affected by such factors as bankruptcy, an open audit or a balance due on a related account such as a different tax year.
- The IRS also periodically adjusts its technology systems during the filing season, which can also factor into short refund delays.
So what can I do now to ensure I get my refund as quickly as possible?
Come in and prepare your taxes as soon as possible. That way, we can submit it for processing as soon as e-file opens on January 30th and you’ll be among the first to receive your refund. The faster you file your return, the better your chances of receiving your refund in February.
The status of your refund will be available on the IRS ‘Where’s My Refund’ page within 24 hours after the IRS has received your return (this website will open on January 30th). Keep in mind that calling H&R Block or the IRS will not do anything to speed the process of your receiving your refund; your best bet is to check on the IRS website for the most up-to-date information. Keep in mind that the date provided on ‘Where’s My Refund’ is not a guarantee; it may take up to five additional days for your financial institution to post the refund to your account (if you received direct deposit), or for mail delivery of a paper check.
Our offices are open for business and ready to help — and if you come in now, your taxes will be filed as soon as the IRS begins accepting returns on January 30th. Call 1800HRBLOCK for more information and to book your appointment.