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

Are you worried about what would happen if you have the wrong routing number on a tax return? You should. Providing the wrong routing number for a direct deposit may have severe implications where your money is concerned.

Usually, taxpayers can put their account and routing number on the return to have their refund direct deposited into their bank account when completing a federal tax return. And the taxpayers may have a refund deposited directly into their savings, checking or individual retirement account. About 80 percent ​of taxpayers receive money through Direct Deposit because it has no costs associated with it, is secure and convenient.

However, in such situations, you must provide the ​nine-digitrouting number to identify the bank or credit union in which you hold an account. And you must also provide the account number to identify each specific account you own within a financial institution. Therefore, you should confirm the routing number of the financial institution and your account number before submitting the tax return to the Internal Revenue Service.

Checking Your Tax Refund Status

Taxpayers can check the status of their tax return online through the IRS website ​72 hours​ after the IRS acknowledges receipt of the return. You could do that via the IRS2Go mobile app or the Where's My Refund tool on its site. Typically, the status updates occur every ​24 hours​. Under normal circumstances, tax refunds will show up ​21 days​ after the electronic tax filing or ​42 days​ after you file your paper returns.

The refund amount, Social Security number, and name of the taxpayer must be submitted to check the status of a tax return. It is also important that you know the dollar amount you expect back from the IRS.

If the IRS rejects the tax return for whatever reason, the taxpayer can fix errors made when inputting the routing number on the return. However, if the IRS accepts the tax return the taxpayer cannot fix the wrong routing number on a tax return, and must wait for a paper check to get sent in the mail.

The Wrong Routing Number Information

Transposing numbers in the sequence of a bank routing number, and exchanging their positions, is a common mistake made by taxpayers when completing their tax return. For that reason, taxpayers must double and triple check the routing number input on the tax return so the refund amount gets deposited in the correct account.

On the other hand, 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.

How Financial Institutions Deal With Mistakes

You could also have the wrong routing number but the correct account number. In such a situation, when taxpayers enter an incorrect routing number on their tax return, the financial institution may reject the direct deposit. So, 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 another ​six to eight weeks​ to get that paper check from the IRS.

How Mistakes Could Cost You

Taxpayers that enter the wrong routing number on tax returns and the wrong account numbers may be in jeopardy of losing their entire refund. That is because if the account number and routing number pass the IRS validation check, the refund amount gets deposited into the account regardless of whether or not it belongs to the taxpayer who made the mistake. This means the taxpayer will have to contact the financial institution to get his funds.

Always remember that the IRS states on its website that it does not assume responsibility when taxpayers enter incorrect information on their tax returns. Therefore, it is your responsibility to verify the information you include on your tax returns and fix the errors to avoid problems with your tax refunds in the future.