What does IRS e-file opening mean?
The IRS accepts tax returns filed one of two ways: on paper sent through the mail and electronically through e-file. About 88% of individual tax returns were e-filed between April 19, 2013 and April 18, 2014. That amounts to nearly 116 million tax returns.
Any tax return filed by a tax professional in an H&R Block office, using the H&R Block tax software or through the H&R Block online program is e-filed. However, you can always choose to have your return printed so you can mail it. But e-file is a safe, secure and fast filing method.
What if I file before Jan. 20?
You can use one of H&R Block’s digital products or come into an H&R Block office before Jan. 20 to have your return prepared. H&R Block offices open Jan. 5, and our software and online products are available now. However, the IRS will not begin processing tax returns until after that date. H&R Block will hold your prepared return and begin submitting it to the IRS as soon as the agency begins accepting tax returns.
The IRS has said that most – about 90% – of refunds are issued within 21 days of when the return was received.
You can check on the status of your refund on the IRS website Where’s My Refund. It will go live the same date e-file opens and will track the progress of your return as it is processed. However, the IRS says that the information is only updated once every 24 hours. In addition, you could be locked out of the website for checking too many times in a 24-hour period.
What could cause it to take longer?
If you file a paper return, the IRS says you should allow about six weeks to receive your refund. If you file Form 8379, Injured Spouse Allocation, it could take up to 14 weeks to process your tax return. If your identity has been stolen and another return was filed with your social security number, it could take longer for the IRS to sort out the situation. Also, if you owe a debt, like unpaid child support, your refund could be offset to pay part or all of it. That could cause a delay or prevent your from receiving the refund altogether.
How can I ensure I get my refund as fast as possible?
Below are tips to help you get your refund ASAP:
- Visit us at any H&R Block office beginning January 5 or use one of our digital products to ensure your return is ready to file when e-file opens on Jan. 20.
- Make sure that you file a complete tax return that is free of any errors or miscalculations. This means checking your personal information very closely including your name, social security number, home address and bank information, if applicable.
- Choose to have your refund direct deposited into your bank account or deposited on to an H&R Block Emerald Card. If the IRS mails you a check, it could take up to 10 days to receive a check through the mail.
- Opt to e-file instead of paper filing.
If I choose the Refund Anticipation Check, doesn’t that get me a refund faster?
The Refund Anticipation Check allows you to pay for your state or federal tax return preparation fees from your refund proceeds. Normally you would be required to pay at the time of your appointment or when you submit your return with one of H&R Block’s digital products. However, it does not expedite the process of getting a refund from the IRS.