U.S. News


Should You Wait For Your Tax Refund?

Americans can choose to receive their tax refunds when the IRS sends them or get instant refunds from third parties.
Posted at 2:42 PM, Mar 23, 2015

It's a question that comes up a lot around tax season: Should you wait for the government to give you your tax refund or should you take advantage of some instant refunds?

On the IRS website, it states before people can check the status of their refunds, they can usually expect to wait about 24 hours after filing their tax forms electronically or four weeks after filing their paper tax returns.

"More than nine out of 10 refunds are issued in less than 21 days," IRS said in a video on its YouTube account. 

Back in January, CNN reported the IRS was warning about tax refund delays for those who mailed in paper copies of their tax returns, noting it could take "at least 7 weeks" to receive a refund.

But sometimes, tax refunds can take too long to get to you, so third parties have set up ways to receive your refund instantly. 

Starting this year, Wal-Mart created its Direct2Cash program where customers can pick up their tax refunds in cash at a Wal-Mart store after receiving a confirmation code for their tax return in an email.

Another option is to set up a refund anticipation check, or RAC, through your bank. When you set up an RAC, you receive a temporary bank account, which is where the IRS deposits your refund. The bank closes the account once the money is distributed.

USA Today reports H&R Block, for example, includes a few extra charges when a customer opens up an RAC. The most expensive one is a charge of $54.95 if a paper check of the refund is requested. (Video via H&R Block)

So make sure to watch out for any of those hidden fees that might pop up with third parties. 

This video includes images from Getty Images.