5 Ways to make sure your tax return is processed ASAP

The IRS does not guarantee tax return processing times, but here are five ways to make sure your tax return is processed as quickly and as smoothly as possible to minimize any delay in receiving your refund. 

1.) File your tax return electronically.

Electronically filed tax returns typically get processed faster than mailed tax returns. Plus, you’ll know quickly if the IRS’s initial screening rejects your tax return. Most electronic tax returns are processed within 21 days. However, mailed tax returns can take four weeks to process normally. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, processing times for mailed returns have been much longer in many cases. 

2.) File your tax return as early as possible.

Once you have all of your tax documents (see #4 below) go ahead and get your tax return filed. This year the first day the IRS is accepting tax returns is Jan. 31, 2022. 

Occasionally, some electronic tax returns are processed early to test the IRS systems if they are already in the software, and they are submitted in the software. So if you can do the tax return accurately and have it filed in the software and placed in the filing queue before Jan. 31, you may get lucky and have it processed early. But tax software companies and tax professionals cannot promise early processing. 

3.) Get your refund by direct deposit.

Electronic deposits are much faster than having a check mailed to you. Plus, you don’t have to worry about someone intercepting the check. 

4.) Make sure the information you enter in your tax return matches the information the IRS has for you.

The best way to do this is to only file when you are certain you have all your tax documents. 

For tax year 2021, if you received the third stimulus (or Economic Impact Payment) or if you received advance Child Tax Credit payments, you will receive a letter giving you the total amount received (one for the third stimulus and one for the advance payments). If the total you enter on your tax return differs from the IRS total, your tax return processing will likely be delayed. Perhaps for weeks or months. 

In some cases, if the information from a tax document you should have received is not entered in your tax return, it will initially be accepted, but it will not be processed until that information is provided. An example of this is Form 1095 – a Health Insurance Marketplace Statement, which is required for those who received subsidized health insurance on the American Care Act (ACA) marketplace. 

5.) Keep your address up to date with the IRS.

When you file your tax return, that does update your address. This is the address the IRS will use to send correspondence. In many cases, if your tax return processing is delayed, the IRS will send you a letter requesting more information. Letters from the IRS are not usually forwarded to your new address even if you set up mail forwarding. There are several ways to update your address between tax returns and you can read about those here

You can’t control the tax return processing. You can take these five actions to place you in the best position to have the quickest processing times possible. But even if you do your best, sometimes you will experience a delay. The IRS offers some guidance on when and how to ask questions about your refund here