The days of awaiting a refund check in the mail from the IRS are long gone, for most taxpayers. There are actually a few options you can choose from when it comes to receiving your refund. Some methods have no cost beyond the tax preparation fees, while others may have additional fees for the convenience of having your tax preparation fees deducted from your refund.
Check by Mail
You can always go the old fashioned route and elect to have your refund check mailed to you. This is the slowest way to get your refund, but you will incur zero fees if you elect to pay your tax preparation fees up-front.
Direct deposit is the fastest and easiest way to receive your tax refund. You will of course need to have a bank account and a valid routing number and account number to give your tax preparer before filing your return. Your routing number is the first set of numbers that appears on your personal bank checks, and your account number is the second set of numbers. You can elect to have the money deposited into a checking, savings, IRA or myRA account.
If you are Married Filing Jointly and wish to deposit your refund into an individual bank account (one of which your spouse is not on), your bank may not allow the deposit to go through. Be sure to check with your bank first if this is the case for you.
If you choose to use the direct deposit option, bring a voided check with you when you come to your tax preparation appointment. You’ll incur no additional fees for direct deposit as long as you’re not expecting to have your tax preparation fees deducted from your refund.
Prepaid Visa Card
You can elect to have your tax refund placed on a pre-paid Visa card. Once the IRS processes your return, the card will be mailed to you within 7-10 days. While this seems like a pretty easy and convenient way to receive your refund, this can be the most costly way.
First, if you elect to have the fee for your tax preparation taken out of your refund, you will incur the charges, ($79 for federal refunds in addition to tax preparation fees or $89 for federal & state refunds in addition to tax preparation fees). In addition to these charges, there are fees tied to the debit card. For example, if the card is used after 30 days, you may incur a monthly fee of about $4/month. You are also charged a fee each time the card is used.
Each pre-paid card has its own rules and/or fees related to the use of the card. Be sure to read the information provided with the pre-paid card to ensure proper use and reduce additional fees when possible.
If you are in need of cash now, we also offer a $750 instant tax refund advance. This cash advance is actually a consumer loan for which you will need to be qualified based on a credit check. This loan is available to you at no extra cost through a partner bank. This option is no longer available after February 29th.
Checking on your refund status
No matter which route you choose to get your refund, you will still have to wait for the IRS to process your tax return. The IRS has a few easy ways to check on your refund status. Where’s My Refund? is updated once a day and has the most up to date information available about your refund. You can also download the IRS’s free mobile app, IRS2Go, from an iPhone or Android device. You can start checking on the status of your return within 24 hours after your tax return has been e-filed or 4 weeks after you mail a paper return.