The IRS Direct Deposit Tax Refund Option

If you want to get your tax refund as soon as possible from the IRS, you should choose the direct deposit option.

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You have several options for receiving your federal income tax refund.

  • You can direct deposit your refund into one checking or savings account.
  • You can split your refund and direct deposit it into two or three checking or savings accounts.
  • You can receive your refund as a paper check in the mail.
  • You can buy up to $5,000 in U.S. Series I Savings Bonds with your refund.

"Direct deposit" means that the IRS electronically transfers your refund to your bank account(s). You must provide your account number(s) to the IRS. You can have your refund deposited into a checking or savings account, or another account such as an IRA (including a Roth IRA or SEP-IRA) or Health Savings Account (HSA). You can use direct deposit whether you file your tax return electronically or on paper.

If you want to get your refund as soon as possible, you should choose the direct deposit option. Direct deposit also avoids the possibility that your check will be lost or stolen or returned to the IRS or the Postal Service as undeliverable. It also eliminates the need for you to go to your bank to deposit a paper check.

When you use direct deposit, you have the option of splitting your refund and having the IRS deposit it in up to three different checking or savings accounts at up to three financial institutions. Thus, for example, you could have the IRS deposit half of your refund in your checking account and the other half in your savings account. You cannot split your refund between a direct deposit and paper check.

If you want the IRS to deposit your refund into just one account, use the direct deposit line on your tax form, or the application on your tax preparation software.

If you want to split your refund, complete IRS Form 8888, Allocation of Refund (Including Savings Bond Purchases) and attach it to your return. However, if you are designating part of your refund to pay your tax preparer, you should not use Form 8888. Ask your preparer about this.

Your refund can only be deposited directly into accounts that are in your own name, your spouse’s name, or both if it’s a joint account. Some banks require both spouses’ names on the account to deposit a tax refund from a joint return. Check with your bank for their direct deposit requirements.

April 2013

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