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IRS.gov Website
Current Year Tax Map

Frequently Asked Tax Questions

IRS Procedures - Refund Inquiries

  1. Can I receive a tax refund if I am currently making payments under an installment agreement or payment plan for a prior year's federal taxes?
  2. I lost my refund check. How do I get a new one?
  3. Is it possible to find out if a federal tax refund check has been cashed?
  4. What is a split refund?
  5. If I am filing a joint return with my spouse, must our refund be deposited to a jointly-held account?
  6. May I direct part or all of my refund to apply as a contribution for the prior year to my individual retirement account (IRA)?
  7. Are there conditions that could change the amount of my direct deposits?
  8. What should I do if I’ve entered an incorrect routing or account number?
  9. How can I ensure my refund is deposited as I designate?
  10. What if I entered the correct account and routing numbers, but the IRS made an error in depositing my refund?

Rev. date: 09/21/2013

Can I receive a tax refund if I am currently making payments under an installment agreement or payment plan for a prior year's federal taxes?

No.  As a condition of your installment agreement, any refund due to you in a future year will be applied against the amount that you owe.

Rev. date: 12/21/2012

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

If you have lost your refund check, there are several options available to initiate a refund trace on your behalf.
Once your claim for a missing refund has been processed and if your refund check has been cashed, the Financial Management Service (FMS) can provide you with a claim package that includes a copy of the check. FMS will review your claim and the signature on the cancelled check before determining whether an additional refund can be issued to you. The FMS review can take up to six weeks to complete.

Rev. date: 12/21/2012

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

If you need to know whether your federal tax refund check has been cashed, you can initiate a trace on your refund by using 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 the IRS toll-free at 800-829-1954 to request assistance.
By law, the IRS is not allowed to disclose any information to you about someone else’s refund. For example, the IRS cannot discuss with you a check that was issued to another taxpayer.

Rev. date: 09/21/2013

What is a split refund?

The IRS allows your refund to be split. A split refund lets you divide your refund, in any proportion you want, and direct deposit the funds into up to three different accounts with U.S. financial institutions. Taxpayers use Form 8888 (PDF), Allocation of Refund, to request to have their refund split.

Rev. date: 12/21/2012

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

You can ask the IRS to direct deposit a refund from a jointly filed return into your account, your spouse's account, or a joint account.  However, state and financial institution rules can vary, and you should first verify that your financial institution will accept a joint refund deposit into an individual account.

Rev. date: 03/12/2013

May I direct part or all of my refund to apply as a contribution for the prior year to my individual retirement account (IRA)?

Yes, but the refund must be deposited by the due date for filing your tax return.  In addition, 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 the current year (e.g. a refund received in 2013 is for 2012 not 2013).
The 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 2013, rather than 2012, and you must file an amended 2012 return and reduce any IRA deduction and any retirement savings contributions credit you claimed.

Rev. date: 12/21/2012

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

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: 09/05/2013

What should I do if I’ve entered an incorrect routing or account number?

The IRS assumes no responsibility for tax preparer or 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 prior to signing and submitting your return.
Be very careful entering your account and routing numbers. The IRS will handle account or routing number errors on split refunds the same as for regular direct deposits.
For example, if:
Solution

Rev. date: 01/08/2013

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

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.
Remember: 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.

Rev. date: 12/21/2012

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

The IRS will correct any agency errors. Contact an IRS customer service representative by calling 800-829-1040 (toll-free).  However, unfortunately this could result in a paper check.