What Do I Do if I Gave the Wrong Routing Number for My Tax Refund?

When completing a federal tax return, taxpayers have the ability to put their account and routing number on the return to have their refund direct deposited into their bank account. Taxpayers may have a refund deposited directly into their savings, checking or individual retirement account. The routing number of the financial institution should be confirmed prior to submitting the tax return to the Internal Revenue Service.

Checking Status

Taxpayers can check the status of their tax return online using the IRS website 72 hours after the IRS acknowledges receipt of the return. The refund amount, Social Security number and name of the taxpayer must be submitted to check the status of a tax return. If the IRS rejects the tax return, the taxpayer can fix errors made when inputting the routing number on the return. If the IRS accepts the tax return, the taxpayer cannot fix errors made to the return and must wait for a paper check to get sent in the mail.

Wrong Information

Transposing numbers in the sequence of a bank routing number is a common mistake made by taxpayers when completing their tax return. It is important for taxpayers to double and triple check the routing number input on the tax return so the refund amount gets deposited in the correct account. Omitted numbers in the routing number sequence will cause the direct deposit request to fail the IRS validation check. This means the IRS will issue a paper check to the taxpayer for the entire refund amount, as explained by the IRS website.

Financial Institutions

When taxpayers enter an incorrect routing number on their tax return, the financial institution may reject the direct deposit. Also, taxpayers must check with their financial institution to ensure the direct deposit will be accepted. If a taxpayer’s financial institution rejects the direct deposit, the direct deposit gets sent back to the IRS. At this point, the IRS will mail the taxpayer a paper check for the entire refund amount. It may take anywhere from three to four weeks to receive a paper check from the IRS, according to the Turbo Tax website.


Taxpayers that enter the wrong account and routing number may be in jeopardy of losing their entire refund. If the account number and routing number pass the IRS validation check, the refund amount gets deposited into the account regardless of whether it belongs to the taxpayer or not. This means the taxpayer will have to contact the financial institution to get his funds. The IRS does not assume responsibility when a taxpayer enters incorrect information on his tax return, as stated on the IRS website.