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The best and fastest way to get your tax refund is to have it electronically deposited for free into your financial account. The IRS program is called direct deposit. You can use it to deposit your refund into one, two or even three accounts.
Eight out of 10 taxpayers get their refunds by using Direct Deposit. It is simple, safe and secure. This is the same electronic transfer system used to deposit nearly 98 percent of all Social Security and Veterans Affairs benefits into millions of accounts.
Combining direct deposit with electronic filing is the fastest way to receive your refund. IRS issues more than 9 out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days. You can track your refund using our Where’s My Refund? tool.
Direct deposit is easy to use. Just select it as your refund method through your tax software and type in the account number and routing number. Or, tell your tax preparer you want direct deposit. You can even use direct deposit if you are one of the few people still filing by paper. Be sure to double check your entry to avoid errors.
Direct deposit also saves you money. It costs the nation’s taxpayers more than $1 for every paper refund check issued, but only a dime for each direct deposit made.
The federal tax refund is often the largest single check many people receive. It’s an opportune time to start or add to your savings. You can divide your refund into two or three additional financial accounts, including your Individual Retirement Account, or purchase up to $5,000 in U.S. Series I Savings Bonds.
Splitting your refund is easy. You can use your tax software to do it electronically. Or, use IRS’ Form 8888, Allocation of Refund (PDF) (including Savings Bond Purchases) if you file a paper return. Just follow the instructions on the form. If you want IRS to deposit your refund into just one account, use the direct deposit line on your tax form.
With split refunds, you have a convenient option for managing your money — sending some of your refund to an account for immediate use and some for future savings — teamed with the speed and safety of direct deposit.
Your refund should only be deposited directly into accounts that are in your own name; your spouse’s name or both if it’s a joint account. No more than three electronic refunds can be deposited into a single financial account or pre-paid debit card. Taxpayers who exceed the limit will receive an IRS notice and a paper refund.
Whether you file electronically or on paper, direct deposit gives you access to your refund faster than a paper check.
Direct deposit also avoids the possibility that your check could be lost or stolen or returned to IRS as undeliverable.
- Frequently Asked Questions about Splitting Federal Income Tax Refunds
- Form 8888, Allocation of Refund (Including Savings Bond Purchases (PDF)
- Buying U.S. Series I Savings Bonds with your tax refund
- Frequently Asked Questions about buying U.S. Series I Savings Bonds with your refund
- Where's My Refund?
- Direct Deposit Limits