Clarity Tax Law

IRS Announces Easier Tax Refunds

The IRS has announced that taxpayers who file their amended returns (Form 1040-X) electronically will now be able to select direct deposit for their refund. Waiting on your refund? For some taxpayers, it’s about to become a lot faster.

E-Filed Amended Returns

For years, filing an amended return has been a time-consuming process. Paper filing of amended returns was required until 2020, when the IRS announced that 2019 Forms 1040 and 1040-SR returns could be amended electronically. The program expanded again, allowing taxpayers to electronically file amended returns for Form 1040-NR, Form 1040-SS, Form 1040-PR, in addition to Forms 1040 and 1040-SR.

Direct Deposit

Now, the IRS is rolling out another option: direct deposit.

Even though the IRS had allowed taxpayers to file certain tax returns electronically, taxpayers still had to wait for a paper check for any refund. Delays in IRS processing and slowdowns in the mail added to the long line of frustrations for taxpayers filing amended returns. Now, anyone who electronically files Form 1040-X can opt for direct deposit to get their refund delivered more quickly.

Processing Times

Of course, “more quickly” is relative since processing times are still long. The IRS has indicated that the current processing time is more than 20 weeks for both paper and electronically filed amended returns. If that has you scratching your head, it’s because the IRS still processes amended returns manually, even if those returns are filed electronically. Still, filing electronically can get your return delivered to the IRS more quickly than filing on paper, and direct deposit should speed things along once the refund is available.

“This is a big win for taxpayers and another achievement as we transform the IRS to improve taxpayer experiences,” said IRS Acting Commissioner Doug O’Donnell. “This important update will cut refund time and reduce inconvenience for people who file amended returns. We always encourage direct deposit whenever possible. Getting tax refunds into taxpayers’ hands quickly without worry of a lost or stolen paper check just makes sense.”

Paper Filing

Of course, just because you can electronically file an amended return doesn’t mean you have to—you can file a paper version of Form 1040-X and receive a paper check if you’d prefer. But note that direct deposit is not available for amended paper returns.

Refund Status

No matter how you file your amended return—electronically or on paper—you can check the status by using the Where’s My Amended Return? on the IRS website. You can find out more about your tax refund and how to check your refund status here.

Drawn from Forbes…