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Filing your taxes

How fast can I get my tax refund this year?

If you’re like most Americans, your tax refund feels like the biggest paycheck you’ll receive all year. Learn when you’ll be receiving your refund in 2021, and how you could hurry that process up.

When it comes to taxes, one of the most important questions we are often asked at Jackson Hewitt is, “Will I get a tax refund?” When the answer turns out to be “YES!” this good news leads almost immediately to clients asking, “How fast can I get my refund?”

For millions of Americans, your tax refund feels like the biggest paycheck you’ll receive all year, so filing your taxes is your most important financial transaction*.

Tax refund timing

According to the IRS, most refunds are funded within 21 days of filing. This clock starts after the IRS begins processing tax returns for the year, which is usually at the end of January.

However, due to the PATH Act, taxpayers claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and/or the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC), should expect a delay in their refunds. Due to tax laws aimed to protect a taxpayer’s identity and reduce/eliminate tax fraud, refunds claiming EITC and ACTC will begin funding after February 14. Also, the refund status for those taxpayers may not be available on the IRS.gov website until Feb 21.

It is extremely important to file early so you can get your refund as soon as possible.

You can check your refund status here.

What was the PATH Act?

Though the PATH Act is nearly five years old, and many other types of tax changes have occurred since then, many taxpayers still have questions about how it impacted them. Passed in December of 2015, the PATH Act had a number of elements designed to protect Americans against identity theft and tax fraud.  It gave the IRS more time to review returns with specific tax credits, like EITC and ACTC, and to compare W-2 forms from employers against the individual tax return.

Refund identity theft

Last year, identity thieves affected millions of taxpayers, stealing tax refund dollars from hardworking Americans. The IRS initiated a Security Summit in 2016 to combat stolen identity refund fraud (SIRF). Each year the IRS strengthens its systems and processes to protect you, the taxpayer, and your tax return.  If you have had your identity stolen, or feel you are a victim of tax identity theft go to irs.gov and The Taxpayer Guide to Identity Theft page.

Will your refund be delayed?

In the end, how quickly you receive your tax refund depends on when you file your taxes, how you choose to file, and what credits and deductions you might claim. While refunds including EITC and ACTC will be funded no earlier than February 15, you will still benefit by filing early. You are giving the IRS plenty of time to review your return, verify your EITC and ACTC eligibility, and W-2 authenticity, which is required before your return is processed. Additionally, filing with a tax professional who e-files will also save you time.

Tax credits, deductions, and getting your biggest refund

One of the first elements to getting your biggest refund is making sure you don’t miss any tax credits or deductions you deserve. If your circumstances have changed from last year, there may be a number of new credits or tax deductions available to you. Because you may not know that you’re eligible, a Tax Pro can help you make sure you don’t leave any money on the table. Visit our Tax Refund Calculator to get your estimate.

Life changes and your tax refund

Tax credits and deductions are often connected to major life circumstances, so they may change from year to year based on your personal situation. For example, getting married, having a baby, or retiring could all have an impact on your taxes. Don’t miss out on some of these commonly overlooked areas.

The fast way to get your tax refund

There are a number of ways to get money early. Filing as early as possible will give you a better chance of being in the first round of returns processed by the IRS. Electronic or e-filing gets your return to the IRS quicker than mailing a paper return. The sooner they receive your return, the sooner they can begin processing. Choosing to have your refund directly deposited into your bank account instead of receiving a check in the mail is also faster.

Another way to get your refund early is to choose to load it onto a Serve® American Express® Card. Your refund will be available up to two days faster* than standard direct deposit. Those two days can mean the difference between getting your refund on a Friday or waiting until Tuesday of the following week. It makes a big difference for most of our hard-working clients.

Starting your tax season early

Most taxpayers count on getting a refund as soon as possible, but sometimes, that is not quick enough. If you rely on your refund to pay bills you may qualify for a tax time loan. Book an appointment with a Jackson Hewitt Tax Pro to learn more. Neighborhood offices, as well as those located inside Walmart stores, are open and ready to help with your tax needs.

Early Refund Advance loan* & the holiday shopping season

For qualifying customers, there are loans available based on their estimated federal income tax refund. Those loans can make a huge difference if you need money for holiday shopping and other expenses in mid-December. You may consider applying for an Early Refund Advance, a no fee, 0% APR loan from MetaBank®, N.A. available to qualifying clients who prepare their taxes with Jackson Hewitt. For 2020 tax filers, Early Refund Advance loan amounts are between $200-$700.

No W-2, no problem. Just present your paystub or other acceptable income verification to apply for Early Refund Advance*. In January, provide your W-2 or other tax documents to complete filing your taxes and apply for additional Refund Advance loan amounts. See if you prequalify online before meeting with a Tax Pro. Loan available within 24 hours if disbursed on a prepaid card or in 1-5 business days with direct deposit. Terms and conditions apply.

Filing requirements

Organize your tax documents before meeting with your Tax Pro for a smooth appointment and to get your refund as early as possible. You can get started with your paystub or other income verification documents at Jackson Hewitt and complete most of the tax interview. Your life situation will determine the tax documents you need to bring –married, have kids, unemployed, small business owner – these things impact your taxes. Here’s a helpful checklist to make sure you have everything you need to file properly.

Get your taxes done early & track your refund with MyJH

At Jackson Hewitt, we know taxes are complicated. That’s why we work hard to help get you off to a good financial start. Talk to a Tax Pro. Make sure you get the maximum refund you deserve. Understand your options for filing taxes early and getting money as quickly as possible. You can track the status of your refund with a MyJH account – a secure online portal that stores your return. Set up your account here.

Why Jackson Hewitt®?

We see you

Our Tax Pros will connect with you one-on-one, answer all your questions, and always go the extra mile to support you.

We got you

We have flexible hours, locations, and filing options that cater to every hardworking tax filer.


We’ve seen it all and will help you through it all. 35 years of experience and our guarantees back it up.