What Happens if a Wrong Account Number Was Provided for Income Tax Returns?

by Denise Caldwell

    Being accurate on your tax return is key to ensuring a seamless tax filing process. Accuracy not only helps prevent audits, but it also prevents you from going through the hassle of having the IRS reissue your tax refund check. If you provided the IRS with the wrong account number, there are some steps you can take to correct the problem. The earlier you start to correct the issue, the easier the process will be for you.

    The IRS issues refunds through either direct deposit or paper check. If you enter your bank account number on your tax return and check the direct deposit box, the IRS will attempt to direct deposit your tax refund to the account listed on the return. If the account number listed on the return is incorrect, then there are some simple steps you need to take to correct the issue with the IRS.

    Generally, the banking institution associated with the routing number listed on your tax return will return the funds to the IRS if the name on the account does not match the account number on the return. Once the IRS receives the money from the bank, it will mail a paper check to the taxpayer. If you omit a number from the account number you enter on your return, the IRS will automatically issue you a paper check. If you do not receive an IRS paper check within two weeks of the date when your check was scheduled to be direct deposited, complete IRS Form 3911, Taxpayer Statement Regarding Refund, and mail it to the IRS. The IRS can prevent the funds from being sent to the wrong bank if you catch the mistake before the scheduled direct deposit date. Check the IRS “Where’s My Refund” page to determine your estimated direct deposit date.

    The IRS will send the paper check to the taxpayer’s last known address, generally the address listed on your return. If you’ve changed addresses since you filed your income tax return, call the IRS to change your address or complete IRS Form 8822 and mail it to the IRS.

    The IRS assumes no responsibility for taxpayers who enter incorrect account numbers on their returns. If your bank accepts the direct deposit under someone else's account number, it is up to you to resolve the issue with the bank. The IRS will not assist you in this regard.

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    About the Author

    Denise Caldwell is a finance writer who has been writing on taxation and finance since 2006. Her articles appear regularly on websites such as Gomestic.com and MoneyNing.com. She has taken what she learned while working at the IRS to provide readers with helpful tax and finance tips. Caldwell received a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Howard University.

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