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Last night I stayed up late preparing my taxes. This should be a sign that something is truly amiss in the world, as I have been known to file my taxes an entire year late. Yes. (There's no penalty for filing late if you're owed a refund, but it's still not the most brilliant option in the world.) But this year, with three young children, a husband who hadn't worked much, and a huge amount of mortgage interest to deduct, I was expecting to get a nicely large refund, so I devoted my Sunday evening to typing numbers in a web browser.

And sure enough, I scored a big refund and submitted the Federal and Oregon state taxes before midnight (what a rush!). And then went to look at one of a few Federal tax filing schedules -- and wished I'd waited until Thursday. Why? Because the government processes refunds weekly, so if you get your taxes done on Friday night, you'll have to wait six days longer than those who get them in Thursday morning (11 a.m. Eastern is the cutoff time).

Sure, it doesn't actually make my refund come any sooner were I to have waited until later this week, but the mental strain of waiting for the money to hit my bank account is no fun at all. If you, too, are expecting to be owed a refund, and have a hard time with patience, schedule a session with your computer for a Thursday night.

If you're doing direct deposit, you could get your refund in as little as eight days; here is the schedule of when you can expect to receive your refund; this calender shows when the IRS will send direct deposit and mail checks (depending on your bank, the money could hit your account immediately, or not for a few business days). Here's the IRS link to find out whether your refund has been scheduled for depositing (you'll need to know the exact dollar amount of the refund you expect); it's usually 2-4 days after the return has been accepted before the IRS returns any data, however.

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