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IRS.gov Website

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 my federal tax refund check was 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) on Form 8888?
  7. Are there conditions that could change the amount of my direct deposits?
  8. What should I do if I entered an incorrect routing or account number for direct deposit of my refund?
  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?
  11. How can I collect child support from my ex-spouse?

Rev. date: 12/17/2014

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. A condition of your installment agreement is that the IRS will automatically apply any refund due to you against taxes you owe.

Rev. date: 12/17/2014

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

If you have lost your refund check, to initiate a refund trace:
Once your claim for a missing refund is processed, if the check was not cashed, you will receive a replacement after the original check is cancelled. If the refund check was cashed, the Bureau of the Fiscal Service (BFS) will provide you with a claim package that includes a copy of the cashed check. BFS will review your claim and the signature on the cancelled check before determining whether they can issue you a replacement check. The BFS review can take up to six weeks to complete.

Rev. date: 12/17/2014

Is it possible to find out if my federal tax refund check was cashed?

If you need to know whether your federal tax refund check was 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 us at 800-829-1954 to request assistance.
By law, the IRS cannot disclose any information to you about someone else’s refund. For example, the IRS cannot discuss with you a check issued to another taxpayer.
If you lost your refund check, see I lost my refund check. How do I get a new one?

Rev. date: 03/16/2015

What is a split refund?

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. Use Form 8888 (.pdf), Allocation of Refund, to request to have your refund split.

Rev. date: 12/17/2014

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, because state and financial institution rules can vary, you should first verify that your financial institution will accept a joint refund deposit into an individual account.

Rev. date: 12/17/2014

May I direct part or all of my refund to apply as a contribution for the prior year to my individual retirement account (IRA) on Form 8888?

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 the IRA trustee of the intended year for the deposit, the IRA trustee can assume the deposit is for the current year (e.g. a refund received in 2015 is deposited as a contribution for 2015 not 2014).
The IRS is not responsible for the timeliness or contribution amounts related to an IRA direct deposit.

Rev. date: 12/17/2014

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: 12/17/2014

What should I do if I entered an incorrect routing or account number for direct deposit of my refund?

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 it. You should not request a deposit of your refund into an account that is not in your own name.
The IRS handles account or routing number errors the same for both split refunds and regular direct deposits.
Scenario:
Solution:

Rev. date: 03/13/2015

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

Check with your financial institution to ensure it 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.
Note: 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. Also, no more than three electronic refunds can be directly deposited into a single financial account or prepaid debit card. Taxpayers who exceed the limit will receive an IRS notice and a paper refund.

Rev. date: 12/17/2014

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) Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., local time (8 a.m. to 8 p.m. in Puerto Rico, local time). However, unfortunately this may result in issuance of a paper check.

Rev. date: 12/17/2014

How can I collect child support from my ex-spouse?

If you need assistance in obtaining child support payments that are overdue, you must contact your Office of Child Support Enforcement .