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When the year winds to a close, it means tax season is nearly here. If you’re like most Americans, you’re looking forward to getting that return filed so you can cash in that refund, but you hate that waiting game after you’ve submitted your return. Whether you’re filing for the first time, or you have been filing your taxes for years, there are a few things you can do to ensure that you’re getting your refund (if you’re owed a refund) as quickly as possible. Here is a short checklist to ensure you’re getting your cash as fast as possible.

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File Electronically

You may be tempted to do your taxes the old fashioned way on paper, but if you want to get your refund quickly, then you’ll want to file electronically. In fact, you can get your tax refund in as fast as seven days with direct deposit, and e-filed returns are usually far more accurate. According to efile.com, paper tax returns have an average error rate of 20 percent, but e-filed tax returns have an average error rate of just one percent. E-filing your tax returns is safe, secure and the quickest way to get that document to the IRS.

Double Check Everything

Many of the most common errors are something as simple as putting your Social Security number down wrong. You can save a lot of time and a lot of headaches just by double (and triple) checking everything before you file. If your name, Social Security number, address or birthdate are wrong, you can end up with long wait times as you file corrections and work to fix the error. Save the time up front and just double check your work.

Direct Deposit

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You can still get a paper check issued to you for your refund, but if you’re not getting your money direct deposited, you can end up with a several week delay. The direct deposit option will allow the IRS to automatically deposit those funds right into your bank account, just be sure that you enter your bank account number and routing number accurately, otherwise you’ll end up with those long wait times again.

Stay Organized

When it comes to sitting down to file your tax return, you’ll need to pull together a lot of paperwork and forms to ensure accuracy. Keep things organized up front and you’ll find that the actual return is far easier to file. Keep anything tax-related in a separate envelope and keep it handy all year long so you can easily file important documents together. Also keep a notebook nearby throughout the year to remind yourself of any deductions — that way, you won’t forget anything when you file your return.

Start Early

You should have all your tax forms by the end of January every year so you can file your return as soon as you have all your documents. There is no reason to wait until April 15, when all the procrastinators file. Instead, get those forms filed early, as the IRS usually has a shorter waiting time and your return will get processed much faster. You’ll beat all the other procrastinators and you’ll already have spent your return before they even sit down to their computer.

Deborah Flomberg is a theater professional, freelance writer and Denver native. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.

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