Methods of Receiving A Tax Refund

February 04, 2015 : H&R Block

Receiving a refund is, by far and away, the best part of the tax filing process (in my opinion). However, there are also some choices to be made when it comes time to select how you want to receive your refund. Here’s what you should know. 

First, the IRS estimates that 9 in 10 refunds are issued within about 21 days from when the e-filed return was received. So no matter what method you choose, you may be waiting a while for the IRS to send a refund to you.

You can check on the status of your tax refund by visiting the IRS website or our Where’s My Refund page. The IRS page will show you three different statuses as your return is processed.

  1. Return received
  2. Refund approved
  3. Refund sent

There are several options to choose from when deciding how you wish to receive your refund.

Paper check

You can choose to have the IRS mail a paper check to you. This is the slowest method of refund delivery. It could take up to 10 days after the IRS says it has been sent for the check to actually arrive.

Direct Deposit

You can choose to have the IRS electronically send your refund directly to your bank account. If you choose this option to file your return, make sure to double-check your bank account information. If as little as one number is missing, the refund might not be deposited and would be sent by check instead.

Emerald Card

When you file with H&R Block, you can choose to have your refund deposited onto your Emerald Card. This could be a new or a previously existing card. If you file with H&R Block online or software and need a new Emerald Card, it will be mailed to you.

Purchase of U.S. Series I Savings Bonds

This may not be well known, but you can choose to use your refund to buy U.S. Series I Savings Bonds instead of having the cash sent to you. You can buy up to $5,000 in these bonds. However, these are considered longer-term investments and usually can’t be redeemed during the first 12 months after you buy them. There may also be penalties within the first five years.

The Refund Anticipation Check (RAC)

This is sometimes a point of confusion. The RAC is not an option for how you can receive your refund. If you select H&R Block’s refund anticipation check, you will not have to pay the fee for tax preparation services up front. Instead, H&R Block will deduct those fees from your refund after the IRS issues it. The RAC does not ensure you will get your refund faster. You will still need to select one of the above methods (check, direct deposit, Emerald Card, savings bonds) to receive your refund.

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