One wrong number can end up causing a big mess and jeopardize your direct deposit tax refund. The wrong account number on your tax return direct deposit might cause your refund to go into someone else’s checking account. You might check out the “Where’s my refund?” section on the IRS website, but that will only show that the refund was processed. It doesn’t show that it went into someone else’s account. Fortunately, there are ways to correct the error.
If you provided the incorrect account number on your tax return, you must contact the IRS immediately. It is possible that you will not receive your refund if you do not address this issue fast enough.
Wrong Account Number on Tax Refund
When you submit the wrong account number for your refund direct deposit, several scenarios may take place. Most often, the number won’t pass the IRS’ validation check, so you’ll receive a check in the mail rather than have the tax refund directly deposited into your account.
If the number does pass the IRS’ validation check, it’s likely your bank will reject it and send the deposit back to the IRS. Again, the IRS will send a check in the mail. If it’s the right routing number but the wrong account number, there’s a possibility the check was directly deposited into another person’s account. In this instance, you must work directly with the bank to get your money back.
Read More: What's My Wells Fargo Routing Number?
Straightening Out the Issue
If you realize just after submission that you’ve put the wrong number on your tax return direct deposit, call the IRS at 800-829-1040, Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and ask them to stop the direct deposit. If it’s a matter of the right routing number but wrong account number and your tax refund went into someone else’s account but the bank in question doesn’t respond to your inquiries within two weeks, file Form 3911 with the IRS. That’s the “Taxpayer Statement Regarding Refund” and the filing of this form authorizes the IRS to start a trace of your refund. The bank must respond to the IRS within 90 days.
When the Bank Won’t Return Funds
If the bank won’t return the funds, the IRS basically bows out. Then the onus is on you, as the situation becomes a civil matter between you and the bank and whomever is the owner of the account that erroneously received your refund check.
An ounce of prevention is always worth a pound of cure, or at least the amount of your tax refund. Prevent errors by checking and rechecking the routing and account number prior to filing your return. If you use a tax preparer, check the numbers yourself before giving the filing go-ahead.
Read More: Where's My Tax Refund: An Easy Guide
- IRS: Refund Inquiries 18
- USA Today: Direct deposit for tax refunds can go very wrong
- Educators Credit Union: Important Tax Refund Information: Deposit Your Refund into the Correct Account
- Internal Revenue Service: "Get Your Refund Faster: Tell IRS to Direct Deposit your Refund to One, Two, or Three Accounts." Accessed April 16, 2020.
- Internal Revenue Service. "IRS Urges Taxpayers to Use Electronic Options; Outlines Online Assistance." Accessed April 16, 2020.
- Internal Revenue Service. "Form 8888 Allocation of Refund (Including Savings Bond Purchases)." Accessed April 16, 2020.
- Internal Revenue Service. "Refund Inquiries 18." Accessed April 16, 2020.
A graduate of New York University, Jane Meggitt's work has appeared in dozens of publications, including Sapling, Zack's, Financial Advisor, nj.com, LegalZoom and The Nest.