With tax season beginning soon, the Internal Revenue Service reminds taxpayers that choosing to have their tax refund directly deposited into their checking or savings account is the fastest way to get their money.
It’s simple, safe and secure. Taxpayers can also get their refund deposited into one, two or three different accounts, if desired.
Eight out of 10 taxpayers get their refunds by using direct deposit. The IRS uses the same electronic transfer system to deposit tax refunds that is used by other federal agencies to deposit nearly 98% of all Social Security and Veterans Affairs benefits into millions of accounts.
Direct deposit also avoids the possibility that a refund check could be lost or stolen or returned to the IRS as undeliverable. And it saves taxpayer money. It costs more than $1 for every paper refund issued, but only a dime for each direct deposit.
Easy to use
A taxpayer simply selects direct deposit as the refund method when using tax software or working with a tax preparer, and then types in their account and routing number. It’s important to double check entries to avoid errors.
The IRS reminds taxpayers they should only deposit refunds directly into accounts that are in their name, their spouse’s name or both if it’s a joint account.
By using direct deposit, a taxpayer can split their refund into up to three financial accounts, including a bank or Individual Retirement Account. Part of the refund can even be used to purchase up to $5,000 in U.S. Series I Savings Bonds.
A taxpayer can split their refund by using tax software or by using IRS Form 8888, Allocation of Refund (including Savings Bond Purchases), if they file a paper return. Some people use split refunds as a convenient option for managing their money, sending some of their refund to an account for immediate use and some for future savings.
No more than three electronic tax refunds can be deposited into a single financial account or prepaid debit card. Taxpayers who exceed the limit will receive an IRS notice and a paper refund will be issued for the refunds exceeding that limit.
E-file plus direct deposit yields fastest refunds
The IRS also encourages taxpayers to file electronically. While a person can choose direct deposit whether they file their taxes on paper or electronically, a taxpayer who e-files will typically see their refund in less than 21 days. Taxpayers can track their refund using “Where’s My Refund?” on IRS.gov or by downloading the IRS2Go mobile app.
“Where’s My Refund?” is updated once daily, usually overnight, so there’s no reason to check more than once per day or call the IRS to get information about a refund. Taxpayers can check “Where’s My Refund?” within 24 hours after the IRS has received their e-filed return or four weeks after receipt of a mailed paper return. “Where’s My Refund?” has a tracker that displays progress through three stages: (1) Return Received, (2) Refund Approved, and (3) Refund Sent.
Whether through IRS Free File or commercially available software, electronic filing vastly reduces tax return errors, as the tax software does the calculations, flags common errors and prompts taxpayers for missing information.
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