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IRS.gov Website
Rev. date: 11/14/2017


Returning an Erroneous Refund – Paper Check or Direct Deposit

Tax Topic 161
rule
If your refund was a paper Treasury check and hasn't been cashed:
  1. Write "Void" in the endorsement section on the back of the check.
  2. Submit the check immediately, but no later than 21 days, to the appropriate IRS location listed below. The location is based on the city (possibly abbreviated) on the bottom text line in front of the words TAX REFUND on your refund check.
  3. Don't staple, bend, or paper clip the check.
  4. Include a note stating "Return of erroneous refund check because (and give a brief explanation of the reason for returning the refund check)."
If your refund was a paper Treasury check and has been cashed:
  1. Submit a personal check, money order, etc., immediately, but no later than 21 days, to the appropriate IRS location listed below. The location is based on the city (possibly abbreviated) on the bottom text line in front of the words TAX REFUND on your refund check. If you no longer have access to a copy of the check, call the IRS toll-free at 800-829-1040 (individual) or 800-829-4933 (business) (see telephone and local assistance for hours of operation) and explain to the assistor that you need information to repay a cashed refund check.
  2. Write on the check/money order: Payment of Erroneous Refund, the tax period for which the refund was issued, and your taxpayer identification number (social security number, employer identification number, or individual taxpayer identification number).
  3. Include a brief explanation of the reason for returning the refund.
  4. Repaying an erroneous refund in this manner may result in interest due the IRS.
If your refund was a direct deposit:
  1. Contact the Automated Clearing House (ACH) department of the bank/financial institution where the direct deposit was received and have them return the refund to the IRS.
  2. Call the IRS toll-free at 800-829-1040 (individual) or 800-829-4933 (business) to explain why the direct deposit is being returned.
  3. Interest may accrue on the erroneous refund.
When the amount of the refund (paper check or direct deposit) is different than what was expected, indicating the IRS changed the amount, a notice explaining the adjustment is mailed to your address of record. Please review the information in the notice to determine if the change to the refund is correct. A toll-free telephone number is included on the notice in case you require further assistance.
IRS mailing addresses based on the city (possibly abbreviated) located on the bottom text line in front of the words TAX REFUND on your refund check: