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Best Way to Receive Your 2023 Tax Refund? IRS Says Direct Deposit.

Here's how to do it.

With the largest single payday approaching, Americans can save themselves some grief by opening an account that can receive electronic payments, the IRS says.

Every year, tax refunds provide a windfall for millions of Americans. Last year, the average refund reached nearly $3,200, although the IRS has said that amount may be smaller this year because many pandemic-related benefits expired. Typically, 75% of Americans receive refunds annually.

Though the IRS can mail you a paper check, the fastest and safest way is through a free, electronic direct deposit, it says. Eight out of ten taxpayers already receive their refunds through direct deposit, but the IRS aims to get even more Americans to move this way.

“There’s no chance of it going uncashed, getting lost, stolen, or destroyed,” the IRS said, noting it’s the same electronic transfer system used to deposit nearly 98% of all Social Security and Veterans Affairs benefits into millions of accounts.

How does direct deposit work?

If you’re using a tax preparer, tell your pro you want direct deposit.

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If you’re using tax software to complete your return, select direct deposit as your refund method and type in the account number and routing number of your bank account.

You can find the routing number, which identifies the location of the bank’s branch, on the bottom left corner of your checks or on your bank’s website. Your account number is on the bottom right corner of your checks, or you can sign into your online banking account or call your bank branch.

You can still use direct deposit even if you’re filing by paper. Just make sure you mark direct deposit on your return and include your information.

Always double-check your entry to avoid mistakes and delays. If you’ve missed a number on your account or routing number, the IRS may send you a paper check.

What if I don't have a bank account?

Don’t worry. You have time to open a bank account. You can find one through the FDIC website or the National Credit Union Administration using their Credit Union Locator Tool. You can also ask your preparer if they have other electronic payment options that they offer.

Otherwise, you might be able to deposit your refund onto a reloadable prepaid debit card or mobile app. Many reloadable prepaid cards and mobile apps have routing and account numbers, which may be different from the card number. Check with your financial institution to make sure your card or app can receive the deposit and double-check the routing and account numbers.

How long does it take to get your tax refund by direct deposit?

Most refunds are issued in less than 21 days for taxpayers who filed electronically and chose direct deposit.

Through the IRS "Where's My Refund" tool, you can track when the IRS received your tax return, when it approved a refund and when it issued the refund. The money should land in your account within 5 days from the date the IRS approved your refund.

Can I track my refund?

Yes. No matter whether you choose to receive a paper check or direct deposit into a single account or three accounts, you can use the "Where’s My Refund?" feature on the IRS website or call 800-829-1954.

You can check the status of your 2022 income tax refund 24 hours after e-filing or after 6 months or more if you filed by paper. Information is updated once a day, overnight. You’ll need your Social Security or taxpayer ID number, filing status and exact refund amount on your return.


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