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Refund Inquiries

Question: What should I do if I entered an incorrect routing or account number for direct deposit of my refund?

Answer:

The IRS assumes no responsibility for tax preparer or taxpayer error. Please verify your account and routing numbers with your financial institution and double check the accuracy of the numbers you enter on your return prior to signing and submitting it. You should not request a deposit of your refund into an account that is not in your own name.

The IRS handles account or routing number errors the same for both split refunds and regular direct deposits.

Scenario:

  • You omit a digit in the account or routing number of an account and the number does not pass the IRS's validation check. In this case, the IRS will send you a paper check for the entire refund instead of a direct deposit.
  • You incorrectly enter an account or routing number and the number passes the validation check but your designated financial institution rejects and returns the deposit to the IRS. The IRS will issue a paper check for that portion of your refund once received.
  • You incorrectly enter an account or routing number that belongs to someone else and your designated financial institution accepts the deposit. You must work directly with the respective financial institution to recover your funds. See the last solution bullet below.

Solution:

  • If the return has not already posted to our system, you can ask us to stop the direct deposit. You may call us toll-free at 800-829-1040, M - F, 7 a.m. - 7 p.m.
  • Generally, if the financial institution recovers the funds and returns them to the IRS, the IRS will send a paper refund check to your last known address on file with the IRS.
  • If you have contacted the financial institution and two weeks have passed with no results, you will need to file Form 3911 (.pdf), Taxpayer Statement Regarding Refund, to initiate a trace. This allows the IRS to contact the bank on your behalf to attempt recovery of your refund. However, if funds are not available or the bank refuses to return the funds, the IRS cannot compel the bank to do so. The case may then become a civil matter between you and the financial institution and/or the owner of the account into which the funds were deposited.

Category: IRS Procedures
Subcategory: Refund Inquiries

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The OMB number for this study is 1545-1432.
If you have any comments regarding this study, please write to:
IRS, Tax Products Coordinating Committee
SE:W:CAR:MP:T:T:SP
1111 Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20224