Filing for Cash Early

The sluggish economy has many people thinking about filing their tax returns early this year so they can get their refund sooner.

"In this year where earners are short of money and looking for funding, we're probably going to see a big increase in the number of people who file early," said Ron Van Winkle, an economist from West Hartford.

If you're looking for a quick refund, consider filing your return online and getting your money deposited directly into your bank account. If you do that, the IRS says you can see your return within 10 days.

Tax preparation services like H&R Block are gearing up for the early rush. "With the economy, a lot of people have lost jobs which is very unfortunate and they're looking for some money especially to pay those Christmas bills," said Jane Jakobeit of H&R Block.

Like past years, H&R Block and other companies are offering loans and lines of credit based on a customer's expected return. However, such programs do come with substantial interest rates or fees.

"Some people have a great refund coming and they just need to pay those oil bills now, and to wait until their tax return comes is a little too long for them," said Jakobeit.

"Those loans are expensive. Although they're available out there, you should not tempt yourself by doing that. Be a little frugal for a few weeks and wait for that check to come," said Van Winkle.

Also this year, make sure you check to see if you're eligible for any new tax deductions and remember that cancelled debt, unemployment compensation, and payments for unused sick or vacation time are taxable.

The earliest day you can file your return is January 15.

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