The Fastest Way to Get Your New York Tax Refund


The funny thing about taxes is that, technically, the best result is no one owes anyone anything — when, in reality, many of us are happy to get that check every spring. And you may even already have it designated to a specific bill, upgrade, or investment.

Whatever the case, you probably want that refund ASAP. If you’re a resident of New York State, there are two main things you can do to make sure that happens.

1. Double check everything (twice)

One of the most common reasons your refund will be delayed is because of an error in your tax return. Even a small error in a name, address, or bit of arithmetic can cause weeks of delay in your return being processed.

Read more: we researched free tax software and put together a list of the best options here

Before you submit your return, make sure you’ve double, triple, even quadruple-checked that everything is spelled correctly, completely filled out, and signed on the dotted-line. If you’re filling out your taxes manually, go over your calculations a few times, as well.

If you’re worried about making mathematical mistakes (or missing any tax breaks) tax software could be the solution. Tax software does the math for you, and asks questions to make sure you’re not forgetting anything important.

2. Ask for direct deposit instead of a check

Once you’re sure your return is right, it’s time to submit it. At this point, you’ll be asked whether you want your refund via a check in the mail or through direct deposit into your bank account.

Choose direct deposit. Your money will get to you much faster, for a couple of reasons:

  • Checks not only have to be physically printed and packaged, they have to travel through the mail. That second part can take a week or more in and of itself.
  • Going to the bank takes time. Even if you use a bank app for a mobile deposit, most checks take at least one business day, if not longer, to clear.

All you need to set up direct deposit is the routing number for your bank and your account number. Make sure you check these are correct (multiple times!) before you submit your return.

You can check your return status online

For most things in life, waiting is the worst part. If you haven’t heard anything about your return, you can always contact the New York Department of Taxation and Finance for a status update on your return. You’ll need to know your Social Security number and the amount of your New York State refund.

You can check your status online via the New York State government website using this link. For amended returns, call at: 518-457-5149.

A few ideas for putting it to good use

If you’re expecting a refund but still aren’t sure what to do with it, consider these personal finance moves:

  • Top off your emergency fund: Everyone should have at least a few months’ worth of expenses put away in an emergency fund. Just in case.
  • Invest in a certificate of deposit (CD): You can find some great CD rates (5% and up) right now, making them a sound investment.
  • Open a high-yield savings account: If you like the idea of a high APY, but don’t want to tie up your money, pick up a high-yield savings account. You can get APYs nearly as good as CDs offer, but keep full access to your funds. (This is a great place for your emergency fund.)
  • Pay down high-interest debt: If you’re carrying any debt with a high interest rate, such as credit card debt, paying it down can save you a lot of money in interest fees.

If you’re tired of giving the government a free loan — and are not concerned about getting a refund each year — consider re-evaluating your tax withholdings. Ideally, you want to pay what you owe and nothing more.

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