(MoneyHippo.com) – By the middle of April each year, every taxpayer in the United States who earned over a certain threshold the previous year must file a tax return. Once received, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) begins processing each return and issues a refund to those due to receive one.
Processing times vary depending on several factors. For instance, during the 2020 tax cycle, shortages in staffing and changes in tax laws caused a backlog, resulting in longer wait times. Typically, the IRS aims to process and pay returns in 21 days or less from when they accept your return.
While a three-week maximum is the goal, the payment of tax refunds also depends on how complicated the tax return is. For instance, a simple tax return with the standard deduction would likely take less time to process than one with itemized deductions, three rental properties, stock activity, and business on the side.
Generally, filing your taxes online and specifying direct deposit for your refund results in faster processing than mailing a hard copy to the IRS and expecting a paper check. Filing when the IRS opens for current year filings, usually in January, might get you a return faster than waiting until the last minute because there are simply more returns to process the longer you wait.
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