Imagine what you could do with an extra $3,120 in your pocket. That car or home repair you’ve been putting off? You could finally check it off the list. That emergency fund you’ve been wanting to create, or the debt you’ve been wanting to pay off? Done.
Did you know that the average tax refund received during the 2015-filing year was for $3,120? That’s a lot of extra cash. So if you’re expecting a tax refund in 2017, we want to help you get your check as soon as possible. Why wait a day longer than you have to?
Here’s what you need to know:
Important dates for your 2017 taxes
First things first: When can you file your taxes? The beauty of filing earlier is that your tax return is then processed earlier — which means less time waiting around for your refund money! Here are some important tax season dates you should know about:
- January 1st, 2017: Happy New Year, and happy first day you can officially file a 2016 tax return! While you may now start filing via paper forms, the IRS generally will not accept e-file returns until the 23rd. They also will not begin processing your paper-based filings until later in the month.
- January 23, 2017: First day to e-file taxes! This is when the IRS begins to accept electronic tax returns for the vast majority of filers. This is also when paper tax returns will begin to be processed.
- April 17, 2017: Tax Day! This is the last day to file most state and federal taxes for 2016, and the last day to file for an extension.
- October 15, 2017: If you were granted an extension, this is the absolute last day to file 2016 taxes, (the deadline for the request to be made is April 17).
Why do it the old way when you can e-file?
Here’s the thing: Old-school paper returns are processed much more slowly than electronic returns. The fastest way to file taxes today is by e-filing (electronic filing). TurboTax is one of several tax preparation software companies that offer free filing services for those with short and simple returns, such as a 1040EZ. They make it easy, even importing your W-2 statements directly into their systems.
You could also go to a local tax preparer. For a fee, they can complete the paperwork for you in-person and answer any questions you have, before submitting your return online.
What you’ll need when filing your return…
No matter how you file, there are several items you’ll need to have with you. Having these items ready when you file can help make the process smoother and quicker:
- Wage and earning statements like a W-2 form or 1099
- Form 1098-T (if you have student loans)
- Form 1098-E (if you have student loans and paid student loan interest)
- Records of any scholarships or fellowships
- Receipts that itemize any qualified expenses
Get your refund faster than a paper check
When filing a tax return, you have the option to receive your refund in one of two ways: you can receive a paper check in the mail or have your money loaded directly to your account with direct deposit. While paper checks are a valid option, they can take days, if not weeks, to arrive.
With direct deposit, you don’t need to wait or worry. Your check won’t get lost in the mail, and you won’t have to drive all the way to the bank just to cash it in. Once your tax return is processed, the cash will show up right in your bank account.
To set up direct deposit for your tax refund, all you need is your routing and direct deposit numbers. You will use these numbers to fill in the refund section of your tax return.
What if I don’t have a bank account?
Consider getting a prepaid debit card like Green Dot where you can easily set up direct deposit for free. Plus, you can get your routing and direct deposit numbers as soon as you register your card. Most importantly, your money is protected if your card is ever lost or stolen.1
What’s a Fast Cash ADVANCE?
If you’re on a tight budget and need your money even faster, you can also get a FREE tax time cash advance. Fast Cash ADVANCE is a free benefit you can get from thousands of tax pros nationwide. With Fast Cash ADVANCE, you can get up to $1,000 before the IRS even writes your check.2 Most people qualify for a Fast Cash ADVANCE loan — see if you qualify here!
Don’t spend another tax season waiting for your paper check. With these dates and tips in hand, you will be on your way to a fast tax refund in no time!
Green Dot is neither a paid return preparer nor a tax advisor. Accordingly, Green Dot makes no express or implied representations or warranties of any kind concerning the U.S. federal income tax consequences and filing requirements that may be relevant to any particular Green Dot cardholder under applicable U.S. federal income tax laws. All Green Dot cardholders are urged to consult their own tax advisors and/or return preparers.
1Applies to unauthorized transactions on successfully registered cards.
2$1,000 is a loan based upon your refund and is not the refund itself. Fast Cash Advance provided by First Century Bank, a company not affiliated with TPG. Separate fees apply if the taxpayer selects a Refund Transfer. A Refund Transfer is not required for Fast Cash Advance. Up to $1,000 to customer. Not all consumers will qualify for a loan or for the maximum loan amount.