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previous pagePrevious Page: IRS Procedures > Notices & Letters
next pageNext Page:  IRS Procedures > Reporting Fraud
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Frequently Asked Tax Questions

IRS Procedures - Refund Inquiries


Rev. date: 1/2009

Can a person receive a tax refund if they are currently in a payment plan for prior year's federal taxes?


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As a condition of your agreement, any refund due you in a future year will be applied against the amount you owe.

Rev. date: 1/2009

I lost my refund check. How do I get a new one?


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If you have lost your refund check there are several options available to initiate a refund trace on your behalf.
If your refund check has not been cashed, we can normally provide a replacement within six to eight weeks. You may need to complete a Form 3911 (PDF), Taxpayer Statement Regarding Refund, to initiate a claim. If your refund check has been cashed the Financial Management Service (FMS) will provide a claim package which includes a copy of the check. FMS will review the claim and the signature on the cancelled check before determining whether another refund can be issued.

Rev. date: 1/2009

Is it possible to find out if a federal tax refund check has been cashed?


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If you need to know whether your federal tax refund check has been cashed, you can initiate a trace on your refund by one of the following methods:
If you are trying to obtain a photocopy of your refund check because of a dispute over the proceeds, call IRS at 800-829-1954 and request assistance.
If you are inquiring about a check that was issued to someone other than yourself, the IRS is not allowed under the Privacy Act of 1974 to disclose any information.

Rev. date: 1/2009

What is a split refund?


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previous topic occurrence Split Refund next topic occurrence
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A split refund lets you divide your refund, in any proportion you want, and direct deposit the funds in up to three different accounts with U.S. financial institutions.

Rev. date: 1/2009

What are the benefits of splitting my refund?


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By splitting your refund, you get the convenience of directing some of your refund to your checking account for immediate needs and sending some to savings for future use. Plus, you get the safety and speed of direct deposit, meaning you will have access to your refund faster than if you opt to receive a paper check.
Instead of choosing between depositing your refund into a checking or saving account and later moving part of your refund to another account, you can allocate your refund among up to three different accounts and send your money where you want it the first time.

Rev. date: 1/2009

How do I split my refund?


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Simply complete and attach Form 8888 (PDF), Direct Deposit of Refund to More Than One Account, to your federal income tax return to tell IRS how much and to which of your accounts you want your refund deposited.

Rev. date: 1/2009

Can I still send my refund to just one account?


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Yes, you can ask IRS to direct deposit your 2008 refund into one account, or split it among two or three different accounts. The choice is yours.

Rev. date: 1/2009

Does my refund have to exceed a certain amount to split it into different accounts?


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Your deposit to each account must be at least $1.00.

Rev. date: 1/2009

If I want to split my refund among different accounts, can those accounts be with different financial institutions?


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previous topic occurrence Split Refund next topic occurrence
previous topic occurrence Tax Refund next topic occurrence

Yes, you can split your refund among up to three different U.S. financial institutions as long as they will accept a direct deposit to your account.

Rev. date: 1/2009

Must I file electronically to split my refund?


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No, you can split your refund whether you file electronically or on paper.

Rev. date: 1/2009

Can I split my refund between a direct deposit and paper check?


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No, you cannot split your refund between a direct deposit and paper check.

Rev. date: 1/2009

If I am filing a joint return with my spouse, must our refund be deposited to a jointly-held account?


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previous topic occurrence Joint Return next topic occurrence
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You can ask IRS to direct deposit a refund on a joint return into your account, your spouse's account, or a joint account.
State and financial institution rules can vary and you should first verify your financial institution will accept a joint refund into an individual account.

Rev. date: 1/2009

Can I direct part or all of my refund to my prior year individual retirement account (IRA)?


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IRS direct deposits of federal tax refunds will not indicate a contribution year for IRA accounts.
If you fail to notify your IRA trustee of the intended year for the deposit, your trustee can assume the deposit is for 2008.
IRS is not responsible for the timeliness or contribution amounts related to an IRA direct deposit.
If the deposit is not made into your account by the due date of the return (without regard to extensions), the deposit is a contribution for 2008, rather than 2007.

Rev. date: 1/2009

Can I direct part of my refund to pay a loan?


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No, you can direct your refund to either a checking or savings account.

Rev. date: 1/2009

If I use a tax professional to prepare my return, will it cost me more to split my refund?


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Tax preparation fees could vary. Ask your tax professional about his/her fees up front.

Rev. date: 1/2009

Are there conditions that could change the amount of my direct deposits?


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There are several factors that could change the amount of your tax refund - resulting in either a larger or smaller refund than expected.
 

Rev. date: 1/2009

How will IRS handle my split refund deposits if the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) portion of my refund is withheld pending further review?


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IRS will deduct the difference from the amount you designated for the last account shown on Form 8888. If the difference exceeds the amount designated for the last account, IRS will deduct the remainder from the amount designated to the next account, etc.
You will receive a letter from IRS explaining why a portion of your refund was withheld, the effect on your direct deposit(s), and what information you need to provide to verify your EITC eligibility. If IRS later determines you are eligible to receive the credit, the agency will deposit the amount withheld into the first account you designated on Form 8888.
 

Rev. date: 1/2009

What will happen if I owe both back taxes to IRS and back child support, state taxes, student loans, etc?


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If you owe delinquent federal taxes, IRS will withhold the balance due from your refund.
Additionally, if you also owe delinquent state income taxes, back child support, or delinquent non-tax federal debts such as student loans, etc., the Department of Treasury's Financial Management Service (FMS) will deduct the past-due amounts from the payment that appears first on the payment file received from IRS (the IRS payment file orders accounts from the lowest to the highest routing number). If the debt exceeds the payment designated for the account that appears first on the payment file, FMS will reduce the payment designated for the account that appears next, etc.
You will receive a letter explaining any adjustments IRS made to your refund amount and direct deposit(s). You will receive a separate letter from FMS explaining any offset amount, the agency receiving the payment, the address and telephone number of the agency, and amount of your refund/direct deposit that was offset. If you dispute the debt on the letter you receive from FMS, you should contact the agency shown on the notice, not IRS, since IRS has no information about the validity of the debt.
Information about your refund offsets will also be available through Where's My Refund?

Rev. date: 1/2009

What will happen if I enter an incorrect routing or account number?


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IRS assumes no responsibility for 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.
Be very careful; entering your account and routing numbers. IRS will handle account or routing number errors on split refunds the same as for regular direct deposits and mistakes can result in several different scenarios.
For example, if:

Rev. date: 1/2009

How can I ensure my refund is deposited as I designate?


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Check with your financial institution to ensure they will accept a direct deposit for the type of account you are designating. Some financial institutions will accept direct deposits for some types of accounts, but not others.

Rev. date: 1/2009

What if I entered the correct account and routing numbers, but IRS made an error in depositing my refund?


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IRS will correct any agency errors. Contact an IRS customer service representative by calling 800-829-1040.

Rev. date: 1/2009

If I split my refund, can I still use Where's My Refund? to check my refund status?


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Yes, you can check the status of a split refund using the Where My Refund? feature available on IRS.gov or by calling IRS' Refund Hotline at 800-829-1954.

Rev. date: 1/2009

I'm requesting an extension of additional time to file my return. Can I still split my refund?


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previous topic occurrence Split Refund next topic occurrence
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Yes, you can split your refund on any original return, even if you have an extension of time to file your return.

Rev. date: 1/2009

I have not filed my 2005 return yet. Can I also split my 2005 refund?


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No, refund splitting is not available for tax years before 2006.
previous pagePrevious Page: IRS Procedures > Notices & Letters
next pageNext Page:  IRS Procedures > Reporting Fraud
 Use previous pagenext page to find additional instances of index items.