The first question I am asked after ‘How much does it cost?’ is ‘When will I get my refund?’ That is a valid question! We all want to know that! Whether the refund is $100 or $10,000, it is nice to know when you will get it. (Seems like ‘when’ is not so import if we owe IRS money!!!)
How does it work?
IRS is like all other businesses, they have to upgrade their computers every year or so. They close for a period of time to get that done. This year IRS shut down in December, then reopened to accept business returns early in January. Personal returns will be accepted starting Jan 27. We can prepare a return for filing anytime starting now! It will be held on a server until Jan 27, when it will be ‘picked up’ by IRS. If the return has ‘earned income’ or ‘child tax’ credits, IRS will put the return on hold until the last part of February. Then it will be processed. If IRS has questions or needs verification of facts, it will happen after that.
How long does it take?
The normal time frame for an IRS refund is ‘within 21 days’. If your return has no credits, either ‘earned income’ or ‘child tax’ credits, it will be processed as soon as IRS receives it after Jan 27. The 21 days starts the day it is filed. If there are credits, IRS will hold the return until late February, then process the return. In this case, that is when the 21 days start. IRS is saying that the earliest you can expect a refund on a return containing earned income or child tax credits is the first week in March.
The bottom line!
What I am trying to say here is that, no matter what any tax preparer tells you, if you get the big refunds resulting from dependent tax credits, you are not going to get a refund from IRS until at least the first week in March! The only way you can get money earlier than that is to get an advance or a loan. You will repay either one of these out of your actual return. You will generally be charged extra for doing this.