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IRS.gov Website

Frequently Asked Tax Questions

IRS Procedures - Refund Inquiries

  1. Can I receive a tax refund if I owe for a prior year's federal taxes since I am currently making payments under an installment agreement or payment plan?
  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: 08/04/2017

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

No, one of the conditions of your installment agreement is that any refund due to you, the IRS will automatically apply against taxes you owe. Because your refund isn't applied toward your regular monthly payment, continue making your installment agreement payments as scheduled until you pay your liability, including accrued penalties and interest, in full.
If your refund exceeds your total balance due on all outstanding liabilities including accruals, and you don't owe certain past-due amounts, such as federal tax, state tax, a student loan, or child support, you'll receive a refund of the amount over and above what you owe. For more information on these non-IRS refund offsets, you can call the Bureau of the Fiscal Service (BFS) at 800-304-3107 (toll-free).

Rev. date: 08/04/2017

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

If you lost your refund check, you should initiate a refund trace:
Your claim for a missing refund is processed one of two ways:

Rev. date: 08/12/2017

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

Yes, if you need to know whether your federal tax refund check was cashed, you can initiate a refund trace by using one of the following methods:
If you're 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 can't disclose any information to you about someone else’s refund. For example, the IRS can't 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: 08/03/2017

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, Allocation of Refund (Including Savings Bond Purchases), to request to have your refund split or to use part or all of your refund to buy up to $5,000 in paper or electronic U.S. Series I Savings Bonds for yourself or someone else.

Rev. date: 05/26/2017

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 accepts a joint refund deposit into an individual account.

Rev. date: 08/12/2017

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 (not counting extensions). In addition, IRS direct deposits of federal tax refunds won't indicate which year the IRA contribution is for. If you want all your refund deposited into your IRA, you don't use Form 8888, Allocation of Refund (Including Savings Bond Purchases); you do it on your tax return.
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 (for example, a refund received in 2017 is deposited as a contribution for 2017 and not for 2016).
The IRS isn't responsible for the timeliness or contribution amounts related to an IRA direct deposit.

Rev. date: 05/26/2017

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

Yes, 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: 08/28/2017

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's 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: 08/03/2017

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

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: 05/26/2017

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

Contact an IRS customer service representative to correct any agency errors 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). Unfortunately, this may result in you receiving a paper check.

Rev. date: 08/04/2017

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.