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William Perez

Incorrect Direct Deposit of Tax Refund

By September 25, 2006

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Today's tax question comes from K.Y. in California. She asks:

"For my 2005 tax refund, I've accidentally provided the IRS with a wrong bank account number for direct deposit. After calling the IRS and bank numerous times, and researching on the web, it looks like I am not going to see my $5000 refund ever again."

She continues:

"I know the exact routing number, account number (not my account) and date of deposit of the refund. I've placed a couple of traces with the IRS - since it is my mistake, they will not do anything about it. The bank would not do anything to help me with it, even though the refund was deposited to another account within the same bank (same routing number, just slightly different account number). I've gone down to the branch, submitted an investigation of a missing credit etc.

"Aren't banks obligated to check the refund with the SSN or name of the recipient? Is it criminal or wrong for the recipient account to keep the money? Is there anything else, besides hiring an expensive attorney, that I can do to get my refund back without running around, like I have been the last 6 months? Any information would be helpful."


What a predicament! When filling out the direct deposit section of the tax return, I triple check the bank routing and account numbers. And you should too. Even the slightest mistake can have dire consequences, as you found out.

Once the IRS issues a refund check, the matter is between you and your bank. You will need to somehow force the bank to investigate the matter, and urge the other person to pay back the money that was incorrectly deposited into their account. According to IRS spokesperson Jesse Weller,

"When requesting a directly deposited refund, taxpayers should carefully
check to make sure they have accurately entered the financial
institution routing number and account number.

Once the IRS has deposited a refund into the account as directed by the
taxpayer, the Service cannot recall it. Any subsequent action would be
conducted between the taxpayer and the financial institution."

Bottom line? The issue is now between you and your bank.

Learn more about direct deposits of federal tax refunds.

February 27, 2007 at 9:11 pm
(1) David Brown says:

You need to file a report with the police. It is a crime for this person to keep the funds.

May 12, 2007 at 8:05 pm
(2) Jann Shaw says:

My son is going through the same thing right now. He was told by the bank that they cannot take the money out of the account it went into unless the tax agencies request this. I contacted the FDIC who told me to call the Office of Comptoller of the Currency which overseas banks. They confirmed that the bank was correct about not being able to move the funds without a request. I was also told that the tax agencies simply put the money in whatever account is given.

My son caught the mistake the day he came home from the tax preparer’s office but the return had already been submitted. He called the IRS and they have no system for a taxpayer to change the account number after the return is submitted. This is a major flaw in the system. He was incorrectly told by the IRS that the bank would return the funds as the account number would not match the SS# and name on the account. This is not true. He called the bank and they were supposed to watch the account but did not.

I called my congressman’s office. I was told to contact the tax advocate for each agency. There are forms online to complete and submit to get help. So far we have heard back from the state that they would work on this. No reply from IRS tax advocate. The bank manager also tried to work with the agencies on my son’s behalf as did his tax preparer. In all he and I have spent about ten hours trying to get this resolved. Both the IRS and state agency representatives say they are trying to get a request for deposit reversal but it could take weeks. Meanwhile the person whose account it went into is spending the money.

I suggest that if this happens to anyone, write letters immediately to bank, tax agencies and elected representatives to document the situation.

May 14, 2007 at 3:58 pm
(3) William Perez says:

I agree. This is a major flaw in the tax system. If someone other than the taxpayer cashes a check from the IRS, then the IRS and the Treasury Department can prosecute the offender on bank fraud. We definitely need more protection for direct deposits. Write your Congressional representatives!

August 9, 2007 at 9:55 pm
(4) Jann Shaw says:

First I contacted my representative Brad Sherman’s office. They were not any help. Then I hand delivered a letter to Senator Feinstein but never received a reply. I have emailed and called and no one helps. Now my son haw has sent a form and the letter to Barbara Boxer to open a case. We will see if she cares. I do not belive that this is just between the bank and the individual. The government is to protect us and they fail all the time. The police have opened a case but are slow to press charges. I am taking this to the media next.

September 20, 2007 at 1:41 pm
(5) CRIS says:

How can you file a police report? I do not know the name of the individual. Can any help please?!

September 20, 2007 at 2:00 pm
(6) CRIS says:

Hey Jann Shaw what kind of case are you trying to open with Barbara Boxer and what form did you submit. Please let me know so I can do the same.

November 2, 2007 at 5:58 pm
(7) alice says:

I have exactly the same problem. My federal tax return was direct deposited in an incorrect account, and the guy spent all the money. I talked with IRS and the bank numorous times, but it still has not been resolved. IRS filed fund return request to the bank and the reply was “insufficient fund”, so they could not draw the money back. I know the incorrect account number and also the person’s name. What should I do next? Is it criminal for the creditor to spend the money? Any advice would be appreciated.

November 13, 2007 at 3:39 pm
(8) taxes says:

This is a major flaw in our tax and banking laws. All I can say is to seek legal counsel and try to get the Taxpayer Advocate involved as well. The more cases that go through the Advocate, the more likely that Congress will wake up and realize that people should not lose their refund checks.

May 22, 2008 at 2:20 pm
(9) Emily says:

Hello, for people who have encountered this problem, what would you recommend as a course of action to get your money back?

June 10, 2008 at 9:07 pm
(10) William says:

Emily, people who have lost their refunds due to inaccurate direct deposit information need to contact the bank. They will have the wrong bank account information (it will be on their tax return), so the bank will be able to look up the information. People will likely need to talk to multiple bank managers, as not all know how to fix this problem. I have found that contacting the manager of the bank’s EFT or ACH department helps expedite matters. I also recommend submitting a report to the Taxpayer Advocate. The more reports of lost refunds they receive, the more likely they will continue to hound Congress to fix the laws on this issue.

July 24, 2008 at 1:41 am
(11) Felipe says:

ALICE, How did you find the person’s name?
I’m in the same situation this year and nobody seems to care (its not there money.
I’ve been going at it for 3 months now and still didn’t get nowhere. I believe my preparer knows where my money went but I have no proof, if only I could find out the persons name then I’ll get somewhere
Please let me know

July 24, 2008 at 9:02 pm
(12) William says:

Felipe, you will not be able to find out the person’s name. But you do know the incorrect bank account and routing number, as that is the numbers you incorrectly listed on your tax return. You would then contact the bank and ask them to investigate the matter and send back the tax refund deposit.

October 14, 2008 at 11:15 pm
(13) Yuchong says:

I am now facing the exact same problem. I just found out that my tax preparer put the wrong number of my bank account and IRS has already sent the money to the wrong account. IRS has yet sent, but scheduled to send the stimulus check next week.

My refund is more than $5000 and it is a combination of two years’ refund because I kept the money as tax credit for tax year 2007. The total amount is more than $7000 if combined with the stimulus check.

I hope this won’t be the most expensive number mistake for me. I’ll contact IRS and my bank first thing tomorrow, but I am really concerned.

I am really pissed off by IRS if name and SS are not included in the direct deposit to avoid potential problems. They could have asked a void check with the account number just like many direct deposit paychecks ask for.

Did anyone suffering from the same problem get positive outcome eventually?

October 18, 2008 at 5:42 pm
(14) taxes says:

Yuchong, get ready for some administrative headaches ahead. I’m not kidding. The IRS won’t help you. The Taxpayer Advocate will take your information for their report, but they won’t help you either. This matter is between you and the bank. Fortunately, you have the wrong bank information (it’s printed on your tax return). Find out which bank that is. You’ll want to talk to a manager that works in the bank’s ACH department. You’ll need to explain your situation. It will help if you can show them your tax return as well so they can look up the account information.

There’s basically three possibilities from this point. (1) That wrong account is a real account. Meaning, the account numbers belongs to someone. Your money is probably long gone, and your chance of getting it back are slim. (2) That wrong account doesn’t belong to anyone. The bank will see that the account isn’t assigned to a person. The bank could then bounce the deposit back to the IRS. And the IRS will then re-issue you a refund by check. The third possibility is that the bank will be unwilling to assist you claiming that it’s not their fault. Technically, that’s true.

As for me, I always triple check the direct deposit information. If I ever have any doubts about the information, I leave it off and have the refund come by check. That’s because the IRS can track checks and see if a check was cashed fraudulently. There aren’t similar controls for direct deposits. And I get really angry when I see other tax preparers being so sloppy with the direct deposit information. This is a truly upsetting experience, as the client can actually lose their refunds. If your accountant is unwilling to help you, I’d consider filing a complaint. Currently there are no regulations that demand that a preparer conduct any due diligence for direct deposit information. And that’s something I would actually like to see happen. I’d also like to see something similar for software providers as well.

So in summary what I would do is:
1. Find the bank
2. Talk to the ACH manager at the bank
3. Persuade the bank to sent the refund back to the IRS
4. Contact the IRS and explain that the bank will be sending back the refund.
5. Ask the IRS agent to fill out a Taxpayer Advocate Service Request (Form 911) to route your case to the taxpayer advocate.
6. When the Advocate contacts you, explain that you want this incident added to their annual report as a direct deposit error.
7. In the future, always get a check, unless you are 100% sure that your bank info is correct.

December 23, 2008 at 10:38 pm
(15) Salvador Gonzalez says:

all this direct deposit stuff, poses a serious problem for the new stimulous check for this next tax season, due to the fact that if you do not have direct deposit the government will not issue you your stimulous check because they plan on saving money this year by not cutting paper checks, so like the last responce, make sure you double and triple check your info prior to filing for this next tax year. Sincerely your guardian angel

January 24, 2009 at 2:00 pm
(16) Tyra Woods says:


September 16, 2011 at 4:44 am
(17) Julia says:

Yes, Tyra, that is true. The IRS computer system and Social Security database are linked, so every time you file taxes your name and social security number (and everyone’s on your return) are double checked by computer.
This means that whatever your name is on your current social security card, that is the name you must use on your tax return. Even if it’s cut short because of space constraints. Even if you’ve changed it elsewhere. Even if your middle name or initial isn’t on the card. Use EXACTLY what is shown, and double check your social security number.
If you are not happy with the name shown on your social security card, you must change it with the Social Security Administration. Until you do, like it or not, the name shown is your legally identifying name.

January 24, 2009 at 6:54 pm
(18) William Perez says:

Tyra, when the name and SSN# don’t match, the IRS rejects the tax return and sends an error message to the software company or accounting office that filed the return for you. In that case, a return has not been filed, and so the IRS will not attempt to send out a refund. You should use this as an opportunity to double check the bank account numbers in the direct deposit area of your tax return, as any mistake in those numbers could result in you losing your refund forever, as some people here have learned the hard way.

January 25, 2009 at 12:05 pm
(19) Tyra says:

What you mean losing your refund forever. and i was saying about hat that lady said she was lyke the irs told them if the ssn and the name on the back account dnt match the one on the return then it wont go thru. but his went thru to sumbodi else account so how is that true about it having to match?

January 27, 2009 at 5:07 pm
(20) Tara says:

I made an error when doing the state tax and entered my ex husband’s SSN instead of mine. I got an email today saying that the return is “Accepted.”
Will this affect my ex (who doesn’t pay any state tax because he’s in the military) when he files?
I’m also sure I will need to do amended return but since it’s now accepted, I’m not sure when to file the amended return. I really don’t want this to affect him or myself…?

January 27, 2009 at 5:14 pm
(21) William Perez says:

Tyra, you’ll want to call the IRS to see if they can stop the refund from going out via direct deposit. You’ll need to call quick, otherwise the refund will go through to the wrong bank account, and your chances of getting the refund money back are slim. Call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040.

January 27, 2009 at 5:17 pm
(22) William Perez says:

Tara, you may want to call the state to see if they can stop processing the tax return. Otherwise you’ll need to amend the return to zero everything out, and then submit a new tax return in your name only. Now you may be able to change just the name and SSN on the return. Again, talk to the state and see what they recommend as the best way to fix this problem.

February 9, 2009 at 2:54 pm
(23) Cindy says:

Different Question – hope you can help, my bf did his taxes probably a week after i filed mine. mine came back fine being accepted by the state/federal. i got this email msg saying that it should be deposited on 2-6-09, and the same email msg went to my bf. (we both used the same acct)so regardless, today is the 9, and still no refund, BUT my bf got his…and he filed a week after me…any thoughts?

February 14, 2009 at 10:19 pm
(24) Joe says:

ok mines a little different. I have an online account with just a loadable visa which I have my work check direst deposited to. When I went to do my return I brought up the info for my tax guy, who is a friend by the way, because he insisted that the routing # was the same. I wasn’t so sure so I logged in and showed him and it wasn’t the same routing #. I sat back down and asked him to check the account # before he logged off and he said that would be the same also. Well I went to the IRS site to check on my refund status and it said it was deposited on Feb 13th. I double checked my paper work and sure enough it wasn’t a matching acct #. I called my bank and they said it wasn’t even a valid account #. From the info I have gathered so far it seems that my refund will reroute to the IRS and I will be cut a check. Has anybody had this happen to them and if so how log did it take for them to receive a check?

February 16, 2009 at 3:32 pm
(25) mike says:

I put too many digits on the account #. The last four digits are the check number. I am stoopid!

But my bank said the direct deposit would be immediately rejected. Now I wait for the state and the feds to cut a paper check.

Patient and meek.

February 16, 2009 at 7:14 pm
(26) taxes says:

Cindy, it’s possible your tax refund might be delayed. You can check the status of your refund on the IRS web site, and that should indicate if there’s a delay and if so the reason why. I’d also double check the bank information on your tax return vs. the direct deposit information for your bank just to make sure the numbers are the same. If the IRS web site shows that your refund has been sent, I would double check with the bank, and then call the IRS for help in tracking down the refund.

February 16, 2009 at 7:16 pm
(27) taxes says:

Joe, it sounds to me like your bank is being proactive about rejecting refunds to a non-existent account number. However, the last time I encountered this problem the bank did not automatically reject the refund, and we had to track down a bank manager with the authority to investigate this. In the best case scenario, I would expect a refund in about 8-12 weeks. In a worst case scenario where you have to deal extensively with the bank, I would allow up to 6 months for this to resolve.

February 16, 2009 at 7:18 pm
(28) taxes says:

Mike, if you filed recently (within the past week) you may be able to call the IRS and ask them to switch this to a paper check. They will sometimes do this, and it can help speed up the process. The IRS phone number is 1-800-829-1040.

February 18, 2009 at 11:31 pm
(29) Christina says:

I am in the same situation! IRS deposited my refund on Feb 13 to a wrong account and I didn’t find out that it was wrong until today!! I called IRS and they told me that the check they deposited would probably go back to them, or if not, I can submit form3911 and they will cut me a check. Is it really that easy? I trusted them until I saw all these comments here!

And how can I find out if the wrong account number is a valid account? I contacted my bank and the person on the phone said that the account number didn’t exist in California, but she didn’t know if it existed in other states. So if the account number and the routing number don’t match, can the deposit go through?

And who knows if we can find a ACH manager in a local branch? Actually I don’t even know what ACH means… =.=

February 21, 2009 at 4:44 pm
(30) sydny says:

Our situation is a bit different: my boyfriend put down my checking account number (his name isn’t on it) because I pay the bills. The bank said it would NOT deposit in my account and will return it to the IRS if the names don’t match. We’re not sure how to change the account is should be deposited into now…or if they cut a check for a large amount – his refund is over 6k.

February 21, 2009 at 7:24 pm
(31) William Perez says:

Christina, what I’ve seen is that the bank usually holds onto the funds even if the account doesn’t “exist” until you talk to someone in the bank with enough authority to actually investigate the matter. This is not a simple matter, and the steps I outlined in comment #14 are what I had to go through the last time this happened to one of my clients, and the manager we talked out worked out of the bank’s headquarters in New York City. So you will likely need to be very proactive about contacting various managers at your bank to get this resolved satisfactorily.

February 21, 2009 at 7:27 pm
(32) William Perez says:

Sydny, I’ve never seen a bank actually match name/ssn on the refund vs. the accountholder. So it’s likely the deposit may go through. But then again every bank operates differently, so your refund might get bounced back to the IRS. There’s no way for you to change the account numbers after the return has been filed. You’re simply going to have to wait to see if the refund comes through as a direct deposit or as a paper check.

February 26, 2009 at 12:21 am
(33) Cady says:

My refund was direct deposited on 2/20, but to a non-existent account with a one digit difference in account numbers. The IRS has opened an investigation, and the bank says b/c it was a non-existent account they would have returned the funds. Can you give me your best guess as to what to expect next?

February 26, 2009 at 1:33 pm
(34) William Perez says:

Cady, you need to make sure that the bank actually sends the refund back to the IRS. See the steps I laid out in comment #14. Banks differ in whether they will do this automatically. In my experience, the bank has to be prodded and cajoled into returning the refund. At least the account didn’t belong to someone else, so you know the money is still there.

March 31, 2009 at 9:47 pm
(35) Connelly Barnes says:

Man you guys are way too nice. I’d first threaten the bank with criminal and civil lawsuits for fraud, and possibly use a subpoena to retrieve the name of the person who received the stolen money, and use the same lawsuit threats against him. Then I’d move ahead with whatever lawsuits are most likely to recover the stolen funds. Even if I lost out due to legal fees, I’d still be happy to be punishing a thief! I’d also try to get the IRS and the various organizations that fight money laundering at a federal level to charge the person and the bank. Everyone loves expensive lawsuits, and federal crime charges. Or do they? Anyway, I’m not a lawyer, but with full documentation I’d be surprised if I lost the case, and besides it’s worthwhile to kick criminals asses anyway, for the personal satisfaction, and it makes for a more polite society.

March 31, 2009 at 9:51 pm
(36) Connelly Barnes says:

I agree though that this is a major problem, and everyone should be wary of using direct deposit. Also the congressional leaders should fix this.

March 31, 2009 at 9:53 pm
(37) Connelly Barnes says:

Oh, and please don’t take my above statements to be legal advice. Do whatever your lawyer says…at least ask for some legal opinions of whether your cases are worthwhile. I’m surprised that people are just so polite. I’d be out chopping heads off.

March 31, 2009 at 10:52 pm
(38) Febe says:

My husband, and I filled both federal and state taxes, few weeks later we found out that our account number is wrong, we miss to put one number on the account number but the routing number is correct. what can we do, are we going to call IRS or the bank?

April 4, 2009 at 8:55 am
(39) sportsnme says:

This year my return went to the right bank, wrong acct number. I too am being given the runaround. To date the bank reversed 3,100.00 of 14,300. Since then I acquired the other account’s customer name and address. I have filed a civil lawsuit against that person and my bank for the balance plus interest. If and when this works out for me, I will give you all updates and lets hope some good contact information.

I for one am happy I am a Prepaid Legal member. So I can pursue this legally all for a monthly payment of less than 40.00.

April 4, 2009 at 11:01 pm
(40) sportsnme says:

Why does this have to be so complicated with a direct deposit wire transfer? If someone using moneygram or a western union transaction can get that money to the righ person, why can’t the banks and the government implement methods and policies similar to Western Union?

They get the transfer, and require identification for the payee to get access to the money. I have never known this to not work after many times of doing wire transfers through them.

Honestly, this does not sound to difficult to make a few tweeks to make sure the rightful person gets their money!

Are there any lawfirms or consumer groups trying to do things to make this process right? Would it be worth establishing a website dedicated to this and spreading the word? With enough names and stories about this happening eventually some progress could be made.

I will be checking back here periodically for more posts. Good luck to everyone that has experienced this problem.

April 6, 2009 at 1:28 am
(41) taxes says:

I agree, sportsnme, that this is a major problem. The bank information is the one part of a tax return that cannot be changed. My suspicion is that the IRS and the banks simply don’t care at all about this issue. The IRS’s position has been that as long as they deposited the money to the account indicated on your tax return, that they have done their job. The fact that the agency is unwilling to use their almost infinite powers to collect to actually benefit an affected taxpayer who made a simple transcription error astounds me. One client who’s an attorney said the problem is really with the electronic banking laws. I don’t know much about that, and I’m willing to take her word for it.

Febe, see the steps I outlined in comment #14. That’s the steps I perform whenever a client encounters this problem.

April 7, 2009 at 11:01 am
(42) Brklyn says:

Can someone please help. My bank rejected a DD tax refund but the bank manager told me they tried to send the money back 3 times and that the us treasury would not accept. Now they are saying that the feds must put in a claim to request the money back. Could this happen where the bank tried to send it back 3 times and the US Treasury wouldn’t take it?

April 7, 2009 at 2:17 pm
(43) William Perez says:

Brklyn, call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 and explain the situation to them. I’ve never heard of this scenario before.

April 8, 2009 at 2:03 am
(44) Bradley says:

i like a dummy filled out my own taxes in 07 i didnt claim head of household for my son and I. I also had to fill out a 1040x and mailed it in on 3-13-09. How long does it take the IRS to be able to give me a status on this the my return was 151.00 cause i didnt fill out head of house hold then i changed it and my refund jumped 2321.00 i could really usr this money. Does it take long to get an amended refund? thanks for all your help

April 8, 2009 at 11:01 pm
(45) William Perez says:

Bradley, it takes about 8 to 12 weeks for the IRS to process an amended return. And allow another couple of weeks for the checks to go through the mail.

May 9, 2009 at 3:34 pm
(46) Charlotte says:

On our tax return for 2006, there was an incorrect bank account number on our return (it was short 1 digit in the middle of the number) but the money was deposited in our account.
In 2007, the same account number was used and this time it was put in someone else’s account. The bank advised this person had withdrawn the money and had overdrawn his account several times and they could not refund us the money. They advised that we would have to file a claim in Small Claims Court and subpoena the information on this account and then file a claim against the person who received this money. Their attorney told us, when we asked how they handled an account that did not have enough numbers in it, that they added zeros. This appears to me that they are forcing accounts instead of checking them out once they have been rejected.

May 11, 2009 at 6:22 pm
(47) William Perez says:

Charlotte, what a horrible situation. I agree with you that banks go verify the account numbers first, and if they don’t match to return the deposit to the I.R.S. That would make a whole lot more sense that depositing the money in the wrong bank account. I would talk to an attorney, and quick, to force this other person to pay back your refund money.

May 28, 2009 at 1:54 pm
(48) Phill says:

I am going throgh the same thing. I am trying to get a hold of the Tax Advocate. I wonder how many Americans go through this same thing as direct deposits become more and more prevalent.

May 28, 2009 at 4:45 pm
(49) taxes says:

Phill, sorry to hear that you have this problem too. I have not been able to find any data on how many people lose their refunds because of incorrect bank information.

May 30, 2009 at 4:38 am
(50) Astounded and paranoid says:

If a bank accidentally deposits money into your account, you must return it – failure to return it is theft. How is it any different when a deposit is made into an incorrect account – surely the bank is responsible for facilitating getting that money to the correct account? Also, the IRS’s failure to provide a mechanism for changing the bank account number is medieval.

June 15, 2009 at 6:05 pm
(51) taxes says:

I agree with you, Astounded and paranoid, that this is theft and that there are insufficient safeguards in place to allow banks and the IRS to correct such problems. The IRS is taking the stance that they are powerless to do anything, since the person indicating the bank account into which the IRS should deposit the money. Thus the agency claims no responsibility for following the person’s wishes. As a result, I always triple check the account numbers, and if I have any doubt whatsoever that the information might even remotely be not 100% accurate, I force my client to get a paper check. There’s more safeguards with paper checks. For example, the IRS can trace a check, find out who cashed it, and pursue bank and tax fraud charges. Those sorts of investigative safeguards are completely lacking with direct deposit.

June 21, 2009 at 9:31 am
(52) Bill says:

Few days ago filed tax return and chose direct deposit. Double checked routing number and account number but wrote “wrong” bank name.
Why is it wrong? My account was opened in Washington Mutual bank but due to recent bankruptcy (or whatever) was bought out by Chase.
My return was accepted by IRS.

The question is will the different bank name cause delay/cancellation of the return though routing number and account number are correct?

thank you for oppinions

July 27, 2009 at 3:45 pm
(53) TAX08 says:

My taxpreparer entered an incorrect account number on my filing for 08″.. The refund was set up as a Refund Anticipation loan.. I filled out a form 3911 within days after the error was made and the IRS did a formal investigation. Yet the Bank that received the funds from the IRS sent a letter after the investigation stating the funds were deposited correctly. To add insult to injury the person who received my federal and state refund spent the money. Isn’t the bank responsible for verifying the acct information upon a federal investigation? If they did, they would have clearly seen that my social security # and personal information did not match the account the money was sent to. I don’t know what to do.. I have spent the last 5 months trying to get this resolved. I can’t afford a lawyer.. Is there any way of getting legal aid or assistance in persuing the bank?

August 7, 2009 at 8:45 am
(54) Desert Dummy says:

I wish I had run across your site and comments before I started my journey to recover my tax refund. I have learned all of the above with no results but my bank and accountant are at least discussing it. IRS says I don’t qualify for a tax advocate. My accountant had a deposit slip (but I did not know that the bank routing number was not on it) and they called the bank to get the routing number and the bank told them the wrong set of numbers on the deposit slip to use. Bank says they keep incorrect deposits in a sepecial account and all they want is the ACH reference number, but IRS says they can’t give out that information. Surely if we owed the IRS they would be after us with all they have. Thinking positively for good results.

August 19, 2009 at 9:11 pm
(55) zuzug says:

Hi everybody, same problem here. I wrote the wrong account number and I am trying to get my money back since January,09. IRS and bank wont do anything. So I am going to the small court to file civil law suit against the person who illegally spent my money. Money just dont fall down from the sky, it is a theft and I hope I will get my money back. Question for Sportsnme, how is it going with u? Did u file???? Please let us know what is going on with ur case.Thank u.

May 25, 2011 at 10:35 pm
(56) frustrated says:

did you ever get your money back from small claims court?

September 18, 2009 at 4:41 pm
(57) Marta Cerón says:

God i have the same problem. IRS deposited my refund on April 10 to a wrong account, I realized about it before they deposited that money and of course I called to IRS and the Bank. IRS couldnt change my account number, and Bank said they would reject the money since my name and ss didt match with the account. Also Bank(citizens bank) checked that account telling me it doesnt exist. Well so far I havent recieved that money, IRS says they havent hear from the Bank and Bank says they havent got the money. I dont know what to do, besides Im not in USA now.
Well how can this happen if the routing number, account number and name dont match? Bank said that, but IRS still insist that the bank actually got the money. :S

hope you can help me.

November 24, 2009 at 5:27 pm
(58) sabah says:

Not everyone is a thief if money is incorrectly deposited into their account. A regular transfer was set up to my account. I called my bank and explained the situation. They were very unhelpful claiming that they could not sort out the matter as the person making the transfer needs to approach them!!

I spent over an hour on the phone to get them to do their job to no effect!!! Three months on these guy realises his mistake calls the bank and my account is frozen!! Was it my mistake??? Am I a thief???

November 30, 2009 at 4:45 pm
(59) William Perez says:

sabah, from your comment it seems as if you accidentially received a tax refund deposited into your account my mistake. In that case, simply instruct your bank to reject the deposit, and they will return it to the IRS. You’ll want to talk to an ACH manager at the bank, as most bank employees are not familiar with how this process works.

February 2, 2010 at 2:47 pm
(60) Jessica says:

I wanted to add a comment about something I am just DUMBFOUNDED ABOUT! My husband & I have direct deposit set up on our paychecks, so as you would assume, the bank takes his pay from their account & deposits it into our account, etc.. And so, we get his check deposited into our account every Thursday night around 12am.. But, one time he got his paycheck deposited as usual into our account. When I had called the automated account teller, it had said that we had a deposit of such n such amount, but then, it was debited back from our account, & then around 8am, another deposit came back through on our account of a lesser amount & this time stayed for us to use as usual.. We called the bank to see what had happened & why money was taken from our account without permission.. See, this was not someone else’s money wrongly deposited, but in fact our own money so I was a little upset to see that the bank was able to take money back out of our account.. They explained to me that the payer had deposited the wrong amount & overpaid by like $60 measly bucks, so they withdrew the money & then corrected it! Which Of course, was fine with us as mistakes do happen & even though it was deposited into our account, we were not entitled to that “extra” $60.. So the point of comment is, if a bank has the “POWER” to withdraw my husband’s entire paycheck & then re-deposit the correct amount into our account over such a SMALL AMOUNT, WHY DONT THEY HAVE THE POWER to fix such a HUGE amount? As in a tax refund? They were able to access my acount for that, so why can’t they go back & withdraw the money from these people’s account that WRONGLY kept someone else’s TAX REFUND?? There were a few comments about how the wrong person’s account still had the money in it, or it was not even a real account to begin with, but the bank couldn’t do anything about it?? Thats a BUNCH OF CRAP!!! If a bank can do it over a small amount like $60, they can take an incorrect deposit from a wrong account.. And for example, if the account was drained from the person who owned the account, then the bank should refund the money & then pursue the person they gave the money to!! Because, you know, bank errors happen all the time, & if you have a deposit coming through for an account where the account’s Name & Social doesn’t match, but in your system, you have that same exact person’s info in another account with maybe 1 or 2 digits difference, IT DOESN’T TAKE A ROCKET SCIENTIST TO FIGURE OUT THAT ITS A NUMERICAL ERROR!! I MEAN, COME ON!!!! THE BANK SHOULD BE RESPONSIBLE, & THEY SHOULD HAVE TO PURSUE THE PERSON WHO STOLE THE MONEY & SPENT IT!! Cuz if you were a bank ROBBER, your tail would be in FEDERAL PRISON!! How is this any different?? The person took money they were not entitled to!! And you would think that DD is the SAFEST WAY to get your refund, as a bank requires a WHOLE LOT of info to open a bank account, then to cash a check! A Mom N Pop Cashing place can cash a check for someone with a completely obvious FAKE ID!! Think about it… Thanks!!

April 29, 2010 at 10:28 am
(61) Take Some Responsibility says:

If you don’t verify your correct information before submitting a tax return, it is YOUR MISTAKE. This is not the bank/IRS/person who got the deposit’s problem. It is not theft. You submitted the return and designated the refund to go to that account. Is it unethical to take and spend this refund amount? Sure, but if you give some homeless guy a $20 and he spends it you can’t turn around and file a claim against him in civil court.

People need to own up and take a little responsibility for their actions, the goverment can’t protect you from your own stupidity.

April 29, 2010 at 4:57 pm
(62) William Perez says:

While I agree that people should take responsibility for the information on their tax return, there is (for me) a glaring oversight when it comes to direct deposit information. Any piece of text or numeric data on the tax return can be revised or corrected by the taxpayer — except for the bank information for direct deposit. For example, if I make a simple transcription error and enter 12,345 instead of say 12,354 for wage income, I can correct that error by submitting an amended return. Was the mistake still mine? Yes. Might there be penalties? Perhaps. But it’s a mistake capable of being corrected. It is not possible to correct the direct deposit information, however. At least with a paper check, the IRS can trace where the money went or cancel the check and re-issue another refund. Those sorts of controls are absent from the direct deposit feature.

May 19, 2010 at 2:16 pm
(63) Nancy Rosario says:

I have one question what about if somebody receives their tax thinking it was his tax and spends the money and a few weeks later receives another tax return at that time realizes that the first check wasn’t his and belonged to somebody else what happens now will go to jail for that mistake which it was not mine it preparer

May 19, 2010 at 3:19 pm
(64) William Perez says:

Nancy, you will need to contact the IRS. They will probably reverse the original direct deposit, and then forward the tax refund money to the rightful owner.

July 8, 2010 at 11:15 am
(65) Sue says:

After months of going back and forth between the bank, IRS and the Advocate, I finally have proof. By leaving off a simple zero in the accoutn number the money went into someone else’s account with the same institution. That institution (National City/PNC) are telling me unless the other party responds and gives back the money I’m simply screwed. I called the Advocate back–speaking/corresponding with them is a joke, and also called my lawyer. One should not be out money because a zero was left out of an account number. The bank personnel was trying to tell me that the other party keeping this money is not illegal. I cannot agree with such a statement. A mistake doesn’t not constitute a willful “giving” away of my money to someone else. It sounded more like it wasn’t their problem and it was mine. They will place a phone call, and write a letter, but they won’t just take it out of the account. How does that not constitute fraud??

Anyway, I can see by reading all the comments I’m a long way away from seeing my money back. But it is now the principle of the situation. I’m not going to quietly let someone else keep my money fraudulently!

July 8, 2010 at 5:49 pm
(66) William Perez says:

The official position of the IRS is that they followed your instructions exactly and deposited the refund into the bank account that you specified. This is one of the immense dangers of direct deposit.

September 21, 2010 at 5:08 pm
(67) Kevin says:

Same boat… wife and I somehow transposed a number and our refund got deposited into someone else’s account. I talked to the bank and they don’t have the funds in there anymore. So here’s how our story seems to differ. After the 6th time calling the IRS I talked to someone who said if you can get the bank to send back the money, we will issue a check to you. I talked to my bank (many many times) and finally talked to someone who had delt with this and they agreed that they would debit the account and try to re-coupe the funds and send the amount deposited back to the IRS, but we needed an official letter from the IRS stating the deposite was issued to the wrong account and to refund the deposite. A bunch more calls to the IRS and a few letters to the person reviewing our refund (forget the form name we filled out) but I got my letter, gave it to the bank, who issued a check back to the IRS. This just happen today and I am yet to recieve my refund check but after 4 months of fighting there is a very good chance we may get our refund. So yes mistakes happen, it was your fault but don’t give up and keep fighting for YOUR money.

December 8, 2010 at 2:57 am
(68) Ricky says:

I received someone else’s refund. I truly thought it was mine. Spent it all, now 9 months later my accountant contacted me to inform me that he made a mistake and that I owe money to the IRS. I said no problem, let’s setup an installment payment plant. He refused and asked me to obtain a personal loan from my bank. I went to Wellsfargo but they say they don’t do personal loans. My accountant was leading me to belive I owe money to the IRS. My accountant refuses installment payment plan. I think now my accountant should pay the other person his/her refund b/c he made the mistake, decieve me, waited so long to contact me, and will not take installment plans. If I could contact the person to whom I owe the refund we settle this between us and not this bully accountant. Now, Im in the process of buying a house and checking my debt to income ration, I cant afford a lump sum payment and consequently an increase in my debt. How can I contact the person to whom I owe the refund? Is it criminal to ignore completely my accountant?

December 8, 2010 at 3:28 pm
(69) William Perez says:

Ricky, I would first want to identify that the nature of the problem and from there you will be able to resolve it. There are several possibilities I can think of. First, compare the tax refund you received in your bank account to the tax refund showing on your tax return. Do this for both federal and state refunds. Also, compare the bank account information on the tax return (lines 72 to 74 on the 2009 version of Form 1040) to your actual bank account information (for example as shown on a check).

If the bank account information on your return matches your true bank information, then the question could be asked whether you received maybe two federal and two state refunds? (In other words, the preparer might have put your bank info on your return and on someone else’s return.)

If the bank account information on your return does not match your true bank information, then I suspect the preparer might have switched bank info (putting yours on someone else’s return, and that other person’s on your return).

You can contact the IRS directly to resolve these problems, and they may approve an installment agreement if you cannot afford to pay in full.

You cannot, under any circumstances, discover the identity of the other taxpayer. Taxpayer information is strictly confidential and cannot be revealed. Hence only the IRS can sort out the issue by dealing with each taxpayer individually. If the preparer erred in filling out the bank information section, you might be able to file a compliant with the agencies regulating his business and/or a claim for damages (such as any penalties that may be imposed).

I no longer recommend direct deposit. Opting for a paper check in the mail is vastly more secure and offers greater protections. The only possible circumstance in which direct deposit is an acceptable method of delivery is if you and your accountant have checked and confirmed the accuracy of the bank information on the tax return at least four times.

February 4, 2011 at 4:05 pm
(70) Danny says:

I filed my taxes 2 weeks ago at HR Block with a correct routing number and account number. The problem I ran into was that my account was overdrawn. I contacted my bank and let them know that my tax return would be going into the account and to not let it close. Well, two days prior to today it did close. I contacted IRS and they told me that because I already provided them with correct information they wouldn’t be able to make any changes. The return is now sitting in “limbo” at the bank. If it is returned to IRS, I will have to wait 6-8 weeks to get a paper check. Is there anything I can do since my bank is still holding on to the funds? I do have another account that it can go into.

February 5, 2011 at 3:07 pm
(71) William Perez says:

Danny, sorry to hear of your problems. This is exactly why I don’t like direct deposits and don’t recommend it to my clients. The official IRS position is it’s not their fault since the sent the refund money to the account you told them too. You’ll have to deal with the bank directly. I detail the seven steps you need to take to get your refund money back in my article on direct deposits. It seems to me that the bank should be able to let you re-open that same account so you can withdraw the funds or move it to a different account. If the bank isn’t willing to do that, then you have to ask the bank to send the money back to the IRS, and then the IRS will re-issue the refund as a check and mail it to you. You may need to ask the bank over and over again. This entire process can easily take 3-4 months.

February 5, 2011 at 6:09 pm
(72) fredericka says:

wanna know the funny part is i had my taxes direct deposited into my brothers bank account and now they wont let him take it out cause when the irs direct deposits the money it attaches a name and the name on the money didnt match the name on the account and i went down there and wont let me get it either so know we have to wait till monday to see if they will leave it there. idk know why it goes diffrent way you guys direct deposits it in the worng account and the people take it out and i did it on purpose and they wont let my bro take out my 4 grand its messes up

February 7, 2011 at 9:47 pm
(73) Freida says:

I notified the bank that I had a deposit in my account that was incorrect…..twice. They told me their was nothing they could do! I have no idea how to get the info of where it came from, but it is not mine. I have not touched it as I am afraid of consequences! Do I donate to charity? It has been one month.

February 8, 2011 at 12:19 am
(74) William Perez says:

Freida, if the deposit in your account is from the IRS, then the words next to the deposit will say something like “US Treasury Tax Refund”. If that’s the case, then call the IRS right away at 1-800-829-1040 and explain that a tax refund has appeared in your account and it does not appear to be yours. The IRS agent will instruct you what to do.

February 18, 2011 at 7:49 pm
(75) Sandra says:

Hi Will,

I just had this error, part of my acct number is 315 but I put 135 on my return. I dont believe that a bank would have an identical bank acct and routing number with just 2 switched digits. I called the IRS and they informed me that unless the name on the tax return matches the name on the bank acct, they will not issue the return. Is this true?

February 18, 2011 at 8:03 pm
(76) William Perez says:

The bank is supposed to cross check the name on the tax refund deposit from the IRS against the name on the account, and if there’s not a match the bank is supposed to reject the deposit. However not all banks do this. Most likely you will need to follow the 7-step procedure I outline in my article on direct deposit of refunds (scroll to the bottom of the page).

February 18, 2011 at 11:57 pm
(77) western100 says:

I took HR Block loan for quick refund last year. So my refund was deposit into HR BLock last year. This year I switched to different account and she used the same HR BLOCK account for direct deposit. But the HR block account was not longer existing ( the were 8 digits plus my 9 digits SSN), I called the bank, HR Block and IRS , they all said nothing they could do.

But since the account was not there , would the refund being bounced to IRS? The bank is not help at all, how can I find the situation? I am depressed to for the money as a single mom with two kids.Any adviced will be highly appreciated.

February 22, 2011 at 7:42 pm
(78) William Perez says:

Western100, you will need to follow the 7-step procedure I outline in my article on direct deposit of refunds (scroll to the bottom of the page). I’ve seen this happen many times before (unfortunately), although not with this particular bank. You’re going to have to jump through a lot of hoops to get your refund money, so just be prepared that this process will take several months. The IRS’s official position is it’s not their fault and they won’t help you. The bank will likely say it’s not their fault either, and since you’re no longer the accountholder, you’re not entitled to do anything about it. (Yeah, I have seen banks try this line of reasoning out.) This situation is exactly why I can no longer in good conscience recommend the direct deposit program. Simply too many things could go wrong.

March 1, 2011 at 2:42 am
(79) donna says:

hi, so I just found that I gave my old account number to the tax person instead my new number. what should I do? should I contact the person who did my tax? or my bank? and would the bank actually help me??

March 2, 2011 at 7:49 pm
(80) Zeila says:

I always do refunded checks. But this year i went for Direct Deposit for the first time. And just my luck, my tax person entered the wrong account number. He used my routing number instead as my account number. And it was direct deposited yesterday on 03/01. I check the status of it on the irs website. I called my bank, and luckily ..that account number is invalid.. they said it will be bounce back to the irs withing 24-48 hours. Then the irs said i will recieve a check within 3-4 weeks. But the thing is..would it really be 3-4 weeks? i’m just so disspointed at my tax person that did this. How can u use my routing number as my account number? There’s money on the line..now all i can do is just be patient and wait..to see if EVEN i will recieve a check now. No more deposits for me ever agian.

March 3, 2011 at 5:05 am
(81) Andrea says:

When I got my taxes done 2 weeks ago I decided to do direct deposit and my preparer asked for my bank name and account number I asked if he needed the routing number and he said no I have it right here and now come to find out it was wrong online it says that my state taxes have been deposited and my federal are suppose to deposit tomorrow? What should i do? I trusted him!

March 4, 2011 at 2:42 pm
(82) Liz says:

It looks like this is a civil matter. You can file a complaint either in small claims court or superior court against “John Doe” and the bank. Through discovery you can try to get the name of the individual through the bank. They probably won’t release any info., so then you can ask the judge to compel discovery and provide the name of the individual. From there you get your documentation which will support your judgment. This has nothing to do with the IRS. They issue the check. It’s about unjust enrichment. The person who received the money will have to return it.

March 4, 2011 at 8:45 pm
(83) BANKHATER says:


March 4, 2011 at 8:47 pm
(84) BANKHATER says:


March 4, 2011 at 9:09 pm
(85) BANKHATER says:


March 8, 2011 at 4:15 pm
(86) Dwight says:

This just happened to me. I discovered it about 3 weeks after filing, when the direct deposit hadn’t showed up. I called both the IRS and my state tax board, and both told me that they had tried to direct deposit, but that the bank had sent it back to them, and they had scheduled me to receive a check. I called my bank also to inquire about this, and they told me that the IRS doesn’t deposit without matching names to account numbers – not sure if that’s accurate or not.

March 24, 2011 at 4:10 pm
(87) Rose says:

My mom is in somewhat of a similar situation. She filed a paper return but there was an electronic return filed for her as well. She has no idea who did the electronic return and never requested any one to do an electronic return for her. The return that the IRS paid was the electronic return. The IRS gave her the account number the return went to, but how do we find out which bank and who’s account?

Since she never filed the electronic return isn’t it the IRS’s duty to find out who did? Isn’t that fraud?

April 10, 2011 at 8:07 am
(88) karo says:

What everyone needs to realize is that banks are governed by federal agencies…in other words, if you even threaten to file a complaint with their governing boards, you will be amazed at how quick they will rectify their mistake concerning your money. Now, all banks are not governed by one institution. For instance, The Federal Reserve Board is one such governing body, and of course, you can Google to get an appropriate 1-800 number. If it is not the governing agency for your bank, they will tell you…(I think there are three), simply give then the name of your bank. Then, once you find their governing agency, tell them of your complaint, they will tell you how to file a complaint. But stop there, and call yuor bank back, tell them you are going to file a complaint if they cannot find your money, and you will be amazed at how fast they get off their duffs to help you.
I hope this helps!

April 27, 2011 at 5:58 pm
(89) mica says:

I entered the wrong bank account number on my refund entry in Turbo Tax; like an idiot, I added a couple of digits (check numbers) to my account number.

My bank (US Bank, a branch available in Portland, Or) simply bounced back the refund the very same day it was submitted by the IRS. I called, the rep talked to the ACH manager, they looked up that wrong act #, and confirmed it was sent back. The call took 6 minutes.

The author here is claiming that the bank will ‘hold on’ to the money until you contact them and convince them to ‘send it back’. That’s absurd. No bank will do that. Why would they hold it? What for?? They will never be able to track down who it belongs to. Direct deposit errors are fairly common, not just for tax refunds. Where is this info even acquired from? This is just wrong:

# Persuade the bank to sent the refund back to the IRS.

I call BS. If this happens to you, call the bank, give them the erroneous act #, and ask if it has been bounced back yet. It should be automatic.

Now if your money is deposited wrongly in *another person’s account* that’s going to be a lot more difficult to remedy. (The # I gave was simply invalid.) This may or may not be covered by your bank’s fraud protection options. The other account holder may simply agree to give the money back as well (I know I would). Not every one is a greedy SOB. So don’t give up!

(I will be sticking to paper checks from now on however!) :-)

April 27, 2011 at 6:09 pm
(90) William Perez says:

Mica, thanks for sharing your experience. It’s been my experience that banks are often reluctant to bounce the direct deposit back to the IRS. Fortunately your bank was able to resolve this situation quickly and without a lot of hassle on your part, and that’s indeed very good news to hear. From what I’ve read and heard, banks are supposed to automatically cross check the deposit against the name on the account. But I’ve never heard of that actually happening. Perhaps your bank has better cross-checking systems.

May 16, 2011 at 2:35 pm
(91) Bill in GA says:

I have an issue where the Where’s My Refund site says my refund was direct deposted. The issue is I didn’t provide a routing number or account number on my paper return I filed. When I called the IRS they said they could not give me the banking information for the direct depost since I had already told them it was not my account. Any suggestions?

May 31, 2011 at 2:28 pm
(92) MP says:

had the same problem. Tax preparer submitted the wrong acc info. I called the IRS they said the bank will verify name and acc# before they deposit it. I called the bank just incase, they said the same thing. I’m guessing after all these years of people complaining about the same thing the banks/govt put better protections in place. I have to wait 6-8 weeks now, but thats better than being shafted.

June 2, 2011 at 4:27 pm
(93) Karl says:

If your refund has been deposited into the wrong account you need to call the IRS and have them send a “letter of indemnity” to the bank asking that your refund check be returned. Keep asking for a supervisor until you find someone who knows what one is, don’t take no for an answer.

August 10, 2011 at 12:51 pm
(94) Michael says:

Another method: I had this exact issue. The IRS said the bank should return the money and the bank said the IRS had to request the return of the money. The bank would not even contact the account holders to let them know what had happened and warn that the money would be reclaimed. Feeling trapped, I went to the local police station and filed a police report(note: I live in a small town). According to the DA, receiving funds and denying access to them is theft in WA State. Judge issued a subpoena to the bank to turn over account holders information and the police contacted them. They had already spent the $8,000 as the bank told them, “If it’s in your account, it’s yours.” F*#@ing banks. It took 2 months, but they repaid the money. If all else fails, the government(police & courts) can help. Good luck.

August 13, 2011 at 8:19 am
(95) Paula says:

I’m in the same boat as everyone who posted here. I made a mistake and left out a number on my account. It’s been a nightmare. The IRS blames Bank of America and Bank of America blames the IRS. It’s a huge run around. I don’t understand how it can even be legal to keep the money.
Is there any class action suits?
I will be contacting their governing board and then taking the account holder and Bank of America to court. I will never file on line. If they mde the mistake it would be a different ballgame.

August 19, 2011 at 2:10 pm
(96) Paula says:

I’m very lucky. After 4 months my issue was resolved. I emailed the President of Bank Of America and the money was in my account within 48 hours. I received no help from the State of MA, IRS, Attorney General Martha Coakley or either of the Senators I wrote to. In my case, Kerry and Brown. I did request an advocate and was given one after several months. She seemed professional, but thankfully my issue was resolved right after we spoke.
I would never advise anyone to get their checks direct deposited. Mistakes happen and their really isn’t anyone to help you. They need to change the laws.

September 28, 2011 at 2:25 am
(97) Rachelle says:


My situation has been ongoing since January. I almost gave up feeling so helpless and your story has turned things around. I had over 6k deposited in a Chase account that I do not have and have never had. I want to email the president of Chase as you did the president of Bank of America. What did you include in your letter? Did you mention that you would take them court? Did you include the account number of the persons account it went into? H&R Block was the one who put the complete wrong routing and account number on my taxes when they submitted it but yet my copies show my correct info. H&R Block are also the ones who revealed to me the routing and account number they put it into. I just want want help in writing this email… please.

September 28, 2011 at 3:13 pm
(98) William Perez says:

Rachelle, have you tried contacting management at H&R Block? Diverting client’s refund is prohibited by IRS regulations.

October 2, 2011 at 4:47 pm
(99) trent says:

It may be too expensive to pursue, unless you use small claims court, but the recipient of the refund at a minimum owes it to you under an unjust enrichment claim. You would have to sue the recipient and if you don’t know the name I guess sue him as a John Doe and add in the bank as a co-defendant or at last subpoena the bank for the recipient’s name. Interesting that if the bank mistakenly deposits money into your account they will claim bank fraud if you use the money and they insist you have to return the money to the bank. You should be able to use that against them in a lawsuit – the old double-standard. I think if the bank refuses to give you the recipient’s name and address, then they open themselves up for the aiding and abetting of the recipient’s theft of your refund. In a civil case, it would make them a co-conspirator or a joint tortfeasor.

October 19, 2011 at 2:21 pm
(100) CMM says:

Im in the same boat currently- entered in wrong acct by accident. Tried to work with IRS- the account was a valid number though, so they never got a bounce-back. IRS also led me on for 5 months claiming they could do something before a manager finally said “wait, you entered in the wrong number? sorry, we cant help. sorry nobody said that sooner.” i was pretty flabbergasted… went to their site and the reps words were confirmed

After many trips to the Bank with their reps telling me “sorry, talk to the IRS” I gave up and wrote the executive offices at Bofa about NACHA rules and them not having any controls in place to match IRS info with their account numbers/names. turns out that’s less a legal requirement, more of a “ideal” guideline, and its the IRS (as transaction originator) who guarantees funds are set to go into the right account and is the only one who can act to reverse a transaction (and they’ve already said they wont intervene further on my behalf).

so am i stuck with small claims as the last resort? I am looking into rules for NYC and it seems like its going to take a lot of maneuvering to even get to a point where i can identify who the person is and properly sue them. Dont even think i can open a small claim against a John Doe if i am reading NYCs procedures correctly (i’d sue a john doe, with Bofa named as co-conspirator, subpoena Bofa for the account info… yadda yadda yadda).

I went to a police precinct and they wouldn’t open up a complaint (theft of lost property, felony in NYS) because I instructed the money to goto that account.

seems like I’m rapidly running out of reasonable recourse on this one. its nearly 2k, so i’m keen to recover the funds, but i know that small claims isnt a silver bullet and i could easily get nowhere and waste even more time in the process.

November 11, 2011 at 7:23 pm
(101) Scoop says:

I let a person did my tax refund and now the irs saying that it been deposit into another account, what do I need to do in order to get this situation correct.

February 1, 2012 at 2:32 am
(102) Brittneu says:

I had all my information from last year imported to this years income tax return, it put my bank account number and routing number an all that, well I forgot I switched my bank account from a savings account to a checking account so the routing number is the same but the account number is my old one.. But this year I opted for an endeavor card I didn’t chose to have it direct deposited, when I go to the irs site it says my return has been accepted and I have chosen the endeavor card and shall receive it in the mail 7-10 business days as of Jan 24 so today is feb 1st so it’s been 8 days and haven’t recieved it yet, which is fine but when I go to the “where’s my refund” site it says “your return will be direct deposited on feb 1st into ur bank account” which is today but the bank account is wrong. But I didn’t opt for the dire t deposit I clicked on the endeavor card. But as I had everything imported from last year my old account # was put on there with it cuz I got it direct deposited last war.. So one site says I’ll receive the card 7-10 business days from Jan 24 and the other site says it will be direct deposited on feb 1st .. I’m worried i jus found this out and I have to wait till 7am to call the IRS I pray to god It is on the endeavor card and I will receive it soon…

February 1, 2012 at 9:45 am
(103) Tiff says:

I got a question my husband filed his taxes and he had a pay card and we his refund last year with no problems. So when we filed again this year we put all of the same info and now the dang company is trying to say we can’t have it deposited in that account and we already filed and have a day for it to be deposited. Does anyone know what will happen if they don’t let it get deposited. Will it come back in check form considering it won’t be deposited into an account?

February 2, 2012 at 11:06 am
(104) audrey says:

I have a similar issue, I left off the last number of my account number. I contacted my bank (US Bank) and informed them, they had me call back when the refund is scheduled to post, I did that, they contacted another department, found the funds (with the wrong account # i used), they submitted a form, and said it will be 2-10 days for me to have the fund deposited into my account. So, from what I am seeing is that it is completely up to your financial institution.

February 5, 2012 at 8:39 pm
(105) William Perez says:

Audrey, good to hear that your bank has been cooperative and knew how to resolve your direct deposit problem. I hope more banks step up to the plate and start protecting their customers.

February 2, 2012 at 5:49 pm
(106) mary says:

I filed my own taxes this year 2012 l made a mistake and put my last year tax preparer bank & routing # in the area where mines is surposed to go i called the irs and told them they told me it was deposited on January 27 & it will take them 3 weeks from the date it was deposited for them to take action!!I wonder do she have my refund?I also called santa babera tax group they told me to contact the irs and let them know the bank return the ach do anyone know what that means?I contacted her also and she told me she can’t get my refund if she did’nt file my taxes is that true?

February 3, 2012 at 12:29 am
(107) francess says:

ok i live georgia but last two years ago i lived with my boyfriends sister inlaw she did taxes on my name and got it deposited into her account what will happen if i have no way of hsowing were i lived for that year

February 5, 2012 at 8:33 pm
(108) William Perez says:

Francess, If you did not permit her to file your tax return or to receive your refund, then you should file an original tax return with the IRS and attach a detailed explanation of the situation. If however you did permit her to file a tax return for you and to receive your refund, then this is a personal matter between you and the other person.

February 7, 2012 at 12:41 am
(109) Terrie says:

My tax preparer entered wrong account number my refund was suppost to direct deposit feb 1st. I called irs they say it went into my tax preparer account feb 3rd she said she dont hve it what do I do? Im worried

February 7, 2012 at 3:27 am
(110) William Perez says:

Terrie, this is a common situation and unfortunately the IRS will be of no help to you. You will need to deal directly with the bank. I have outlined a 7-step process in my article on direct deposits (scroll to the bottom) for how to resolve this issue with the bank. If I understand you correctly, your tax preparer had the your tax refund deposited into her (the tax preparer’s) own bank account? Is that correct? If that’s the case, this is a violation of Treasury Circular 230, which prohibits tax preparers from receiving tax refunds into their own accounts. If that’s the case, you may need to pursue legal action against the tax preparer.

February 7, 2012 at 3:34 pm
(111) Weyne says:

One more case of wrong direct deposit to a invalid account. Deposited on Feb 1st, 2012, Today is Feb 7th, 2012.
Asking IRS to send a letter to the bank, called “Stop payment”.
Called the bank and the money will be sent to IRS.

February 10, 2012 at 11:45 am
(112) LeeallbrittoLee says:

I left off 1 number on my account irs says it was deposited and the bank says they sent it back what do I need to do someone help please

February 12, 2012 at 2:55 am
(113) William Perez says:

LeeallbrittoLee, please follow the steps outlined in my article on direct deposit (at the bottom of the page)

February 14, 2012 at 12:36 pm
(114) audrey says:

ok, i previously commented that the bank is rectifying my situation, however, someone at the bank did not do their job, because instead of me getting my money today (direct deposit) the bank informed me that they sent the funds back to the irs. i called the irs, and they say they mailed my check today…. So sad, but at least i will get my money… Just a little late.

February 15, 2012 at 8:03 am
(115) Ohio Tax Payer says:

I made a stupid mistake on my tax return this year. I’m not sure what the repercussions will be yet….My account is the same as last year’s, so I had my tax preparer repeat the same account information for direct deposit. However, after mailing my tax paperwork I realized that I should not have used last year’s account # and routing #…because my bank was bought by Huntington Bank over the last few years and the account # and routing # have now been changed (although Huntington Bank allowed for all checks leftover from the previous bank to be used up)…Soooo….I am praying that my $6,000 deposit is either accepted by the bank (for MY ACCOUNT!), rejected by the bank, or the IRS sends me a check! I would be sick to find out that the refund is given to someone else. I am worrying myself sick worrying about what’s going to happen! I think I’m opting for good, old-fashioned checks after this!!!

February 17, 2012 at 2:12 am
(116) William Perez says:

Ohio Tax Payer, if you call the IRS soon after you file, they can convert the refund to a paper check to be mailed to you.

February 16, 2012 at 12:17 am
(117) MinnesotaMark says:

Hey Ohio Taxpayer–similar situation here! My bank (RBC) was bought by PNC and they are transitioning people to new accounts this weekend. Refund was due on 2/14 but has come and past b/c of processing delays. I honestly thought the turnaround would be quicker and I wouldn’t have to worry. I am going to call tomorrow. I think they allow (or at least I am hoping!) for some overlap of accounts for automatic credit and debits. I know that checks written are good against the old account for at least 6mos. …hoping the same is for credits!! if not, my hope is that I can tell them to reject the deposit request which should trigger the IRA to send a printed check. MM

February 16, 2012 at 1:53 pm
(118) jaasmine j says:

I forgot to put my rounte number to get my taxes refund sent to my saving account wat do i do now

February 17, 2012 at 1:59 am
(119) ave says:

i put many digits instead of putting 10 i put 14 digits together with check number? will they reject it? i hope IRS is not stupid enough to cut the numbers to make it ten

February 17, 2012 at 10:53 am
(120) audrey says:

******* update*******

The IRS mailed my check on 2/14/2012, and I received it in the mail on 2/16/2012. So all is well with mines…. Good luck people!

February 17, 2012 at 2:14 pm
(121) William Perez says:

Whew, that’s so good to hear, Audrey.

February 17, 2012 at 11:22 am
(122) Ohio Tax Payer says:

Thanks for the advice, William Perez. I was reading online that I could opt for a paper check if I contacted the IRS, but when I called, the lady I spoke to in Accounting said I could not. She said that the IRS will cut a paper check ONLY IF the DD information is rejected by the bank. She told me I could NOT opt for a paper check at this time, even thoguh the IRS has not yet recieived my paperwork yet (I mailed it, snail mail). She also assured me that the bank would not acceopt the deposit if the name on the deposit did not match the name on the account (which may be “best practice,” but after reading here, I don’t trust that!!) The good news is, I looked up my previous bank’s routing number, and it is listed as belonging to Huntington Bank (since Huntington Bank bought my previous bank). So I guess all I can do now is hope that the previous account & routing number is still associated with my new account & rouitng # at Huntington. But, if anyone else has other advice, I’d love to hear it! Maybe I shoul dcall back and speak to another person in the Accounting Dept. who will allow for a paper check?

February 17, 2012 at 7:27 pm
(123) kevin says:

But if the irs sends the bank a name along with the funds,why doesnt the bank just put 2 and 2 together and deposit it into the account of the person named?Or at least contact them and let them know refund has been rejected,and not to spend money they dont have

February 18, 2012 at 2:55 am
(124) William Perez says:

I’d love to see the banks do that, Kevin. It would be such a helpful benefit for people.

February 21, 2012 at 4:12 pm
(125) sallie says:

I filed my return and wanted it direct deposit, in the meantime because my account was overdrawn the bank closed my account, where will my deposit go

February 21, 2012 at 4:21 pm
(126) William Perez says:

Sallie, your tax refund will be directly deposited into the account listed on your tax return.

February 24, 2012 at 5:11 pm
(127) jshla1 says:

Similar situation, I found out my tax prep person put down checking instead of savings. The way I found out was my wmr said my deposit was made on the 23rd which was yesterday. There was no money in my account so I contacted my bank of America and they informed me that they seen it and sent it back to the irs. The account numbers were right but just the box was checked wrong. So I called irs and they said they seen that it has been sent back to them. They informed me it will take 4-6 weeks for a paper check now. What I don’t get is why will it take this long now if it was already processed and the money was already sent back??

February 25, 2012 at 3:45 am
(128) MattofBOA says:

I just found out that my return was put into someone elses account by my bank. After calling them to find out about my tax return they had me check the # on my tax return and the account number doesn’t even closely resemble my account number AND it belongs to someone else. I don’t understand how something like this could happen. The routing number is the same so my bank was able to confirm that the money is in the account but they wouldn’t tell me who it was, just to call IRS and that they can get the money back for me. I’ve read through here that some people mistype account numbers by a number but I just don’t understand how the whole account number could be completely different AND belong to someone else when I’m the one who copied and pasted it from my bank account website. I plan on calling the IRS tomorrow to see if they can remedy this as my bank said they could.

February 26, 2012 at 4:15 pm
(129) JoofCa says:

I entered the acct number from my bank account website, and it was apparently wrong. Bank’s dept that handles that is closed this weekend, wont be open till monday, the issue is i had my girlfriends and mine sent to the same place, her name is not on the acct, will they be able to find the transaction, and place in my acct still? I’ve had her paychecks deposited in my account for over a year with no problems, I don’t see what this check would be different. Anyone here had that happen with any advice? I pray this dose not take to long to correct, i am in DIRE need of that money, even though i got screwed by taxes this year in the amount, and hopefully not screwed even more by getting none of my small amount back. *palm face* Why such bad luck ? *sigh*

February 26, 2012 at 5:20 pm
(130) William Perez says:

Do not allow other people to use your bank account for the direct deposit of their tax refund check.

February 28, 2012 at 8:12 am
(131) Nicole says:

The same thing happened 2 me unfortunately and it is very frustrating 4 anyone like myself. But soon as I figured it out after checking my account numerous times that my tax refund was not there. I contacted the irs and they told me that it was deposited into the account number that was giving to me from my csr of my bank I read it back to her twice and she confirmed it was correct. But luckly they did match names on the account and it did not go threw because it was not a match. So that was the good news but the bad news is I now have to wait 6-8 weeks from feb 10 which does not make since because, it was deposited Jan 31 into the wrong account. I called on feb 1 and now I’m playing the wait game. So I think that the irs should def get a better system for people that make simple careless mistakes. But you should be able to get your money even tho it’ll take a lil longer but that is def not a loss unless you let it be that’s the banks job 2 confirm s.s and names.

February 28, 2012 at 1:34 pm
(132) dee marie says:

my bank recieved and rejected tax refund check on 6/24/12 because the routing number was for my checkings but the check stated being direct deposited to my savings, so Desert schools bank informed me that the check was rejected and sent back!!!! how long will it take to recieve paper check??? i call IRS and cant talk to anyone telling me to wait til after 2/29/12 it wont even let me get tru it hangs up on me !!! anyone?? has this happen to you??

February 29, 2012 at 1:41 pm
(133) Ohio Tax Payer says:

Well, an update from my tax refund error. I checked “Where’s my Refund” and found out that my refund is scheduled for deposit on 3-2-12. So I contacted the ACH department at Huntington Bank and they confirmed that the refund did convert from my previous bank’s account # to my Huntington bank account # and the money is scheduled to go to my current checking account on 3-2-12. YAY!

While I agree with Nicole (131) that the IRS should get a better system for people that make simple careless mistakes…..I also realize that after dealing with the worry from this year’s mistake I made, I probably won’t let any more careless mistakes get sent with my future refunds!

February 29, 2012 at 6:07 pm
(134) William Perez says:

Ohio Tax Payer, it’s very good to hear that your tax refund went through without any hassle.

March 1, 2012 at 5:49 pm
(135) Kelly Elizabeth says:

Okay, so i happen to have checked my tax return info and i noticed that the tax lady put in a wrong account number for my money to be deposited. I called the IRS and they told me that it is still in process and that Tax return will get rejected by the wrong bank account if informations is not matched. So is that true? Also if its still in process is there any way that the IRs can change my information so that the money wont be deposited in someone else’s account. HELLLPPPP!!!

March 1, 2012 at 8:23 pm
(136) William Perez says:

Kelly, call the IRS back and ask them to convert the refund to a paper check.

March 1, 2012 at 10:49 pm
(137) Kelly Elizabeth says:

thanks, is there a number i can call.

March 2, 2012 at 11:33 am
(138) dee marie says:

UPDATE: well my bank rejected my tax refund check on 2/24/12 because routing number was for my checkings and the check stated being deposited to savings account, so i spoke with IRS and they told me the recieved in and will be mailing my check 3/8/12 i mean longer waiting but happy its almost over with!

March 6, 2012 at 2:14 pm
(139) jwcofNY says:

Well – for the record ANOTHER instance of what everyone else has gone through here. The return was filed using this website http://www.freefilefillableforms.com (is there a pattern here??) and the deposit was made to a wrong account. Of course, all roads lead to statements by the IRS NOT to contact them until the return is deemed late by their standards. Finally now deemed late, the chase is on and responsible people are hard to find. Lots of awful IRS background music though. The Tax Advocate would not discuss this unless and until a complaint was filed with the IRS itself – the IRS in Denver does not answer phones (so says the answering machine and refers to the 1 800 no. – which is cyclical. Round and round. However, the Tax advocate, after the 30 minute wait for a human, did “transfer” me to more music (the same tune) and a person supposedly at the IRS. She said they have to file a “refund trace.” This shouldn’t be hard as the information is all self-contained. But I am waiting now to be told they won’t speak with me because I am the mom – who is not authorized according to the tax advocate. Meanwhile, my daughter suffers through her Ogranic CHemsitry II exam, with her $1000 being held hostage – and little hope it will be returned. I hope she gets a positive result – she earned that money! The other bank recipient certainly didn’t. Agreed – the banks should be REQUIRED to check names with bank account numbers before making a final deposit in to an account. They can put the money on hold as they do with everything else . . . and do their jobs!

March 6, 2012 at 2:39 pm
(140) jwcofNY says:

Oh-so-glad to report that the contact with IRS directly, and their running the trace, revealed that the bank (Chase) did to their work and returned the payment that didn’t line up with the taxpayer name. The IRS says they will be issuing a physical check about 10 days (all inclusive) from date funds were returned. GOOD NEWS!!
Thanks to all who wrote above – it helped to see what others had tried before moving ahead with my own efforts.

March 7, 2012 at 3:41 am
(141) Johny says:

i opted for direct deposit for the tax refund, unfortunately i eneterd my closed bank of america checking account number on the tax forms. will the bank reject the refund since my checking account is closed ? can i change the account number with out amending my tax returns ?pls help..
Thank you

March 8, 2012 at 5:23 pm
(142) William Perez says:

Johnny, call the IRS right away at 1-800-829-1040 and ask that your refund be converted to a paper check. Else, the IRS will deposit the refund into the closed account, and you will have to deal with the bank to get the funds. Bank account information cannot be fixed by amending the tax return. In fact, bank account information cannot be fixed at all, except by calling the IRS right away and asking that the refund be changed to a paper check.

March 7, 2012 at 5:50 pm
(143) Eddie says:

i left one number off my account number my deposit was scheduled to hit my account today. The bank said they cant do anything about it, Do anyone know when i will recieve my check from irs and is there a way i can find out when the checked was mailed

March 8, 2012 at 5:18 pm
(144) William Perez says:

Please follow the seven steps outlined in my article on direct deposits. (Scroll towards the bottom of the article to see the steps.)

March 13, 2012 at 6:19 pm
(145) bookface says:

I never posted on website before. But after I went through 6 months frustration, I would like share my experience with you.

My accountant put other people’s bank routing and account number on my tax return. I found it in July 2011. The tax refund was cashed already by that person. It was over $10k. He was with Chase. But I don’t have account with Chase.

I called the IRS, and Chase many many times. Chase said IRS initiate the deposit, they need to send request to pull the money back. IRS said we don’t have procedure to send request to bank.

I also learned that direct deposit is ACH (transfer), which only check routing number and bank account number. Never check names.

Long story short, finally an Alaska IRS Advocate department lady helped me to find out that the only place who can help is “Financial Management Service“, they are part of US treasury. Here is the website. http://www.fms.treas.gov/index.html

Basically, what you need to do is tell IRS to report the incident to Financial Management Service (FMS). After your case is in FMS, their EFT department will send a R06 form to bank to ask money back to IRS. The EFT department is in Hamper florida. You can find the number on the website. Normally they only deal with bank ACH department not individual, but they are nice to answer questions.

Another trick is find a banker (where the fund was deposit) to help (represent) you. This banker is the only channel to communicate with the ACH department. He/She will help to check what form/doc is still missing.

With 6 months struggle, many hours of calling, many nice people’s help, I finally got my tax refund back.

Good luck everyone!

March 14, 2012 at 2:07 am
(146) William Perez says:

Thank you for sharing your story, “bookface.” I am very sorry to hear of your ordeal, but I’m exceedingly glad you took the reins and produced a favorable outcome for yourself. I’d recommend taking one further step, if you’re so inclined, and that’s to send a letter detailing your story to Karen Hawkins at the Office of Professional Responsibility. She’s the person in charge of all tax professionals at the IRS. She would be very interested in hearing how your tax preparer so recklessly put someone else’s bank information on your tax return.

March 20, 2012 at 5:14 am
(147) Sam says:

can someone please tell what the below status mean.. When i checked the status of my refund a week ago it showed, will be deposit in to my bank account at the end of march… does the below status mean something wrong with my bank account or routing number ?


We are sorry, we cannot provide any information about your refund. For more information, please continue.
Please read the following information related to your tax situation:

Tax Topic 152, Refund Information

If you have questions or need additional information, please have the following on hand when you call:

A copy of this page.
A copy of your tax return.
The Social Security Number, Filing Status, and refund amount claimed on your return.
The date you mailed your return.

Please mention reference number 9001 to the IRS Customer Service Representative.

March 20, 2012 at 6:06 am
(148) William Perez says:

Sam, some people are experiencing delays with their federal tax refunds due to additional processing the IRS is doing in certain types of tax returns. The IRS has not been exactly forthcoming about who’s being impacted. What I can say is that your refund will arrive, but it’s impossible to say when. The IRS’s Where’s My Refund site has been frustratingly inaccurate this year.

March 20, 2012 at 11:53 pm
(149) SamRay says:

I filled for the first time this year. I wrote down my account information and the tax prep-er told me my routing number for the bank was wrong, that everyone she had put in for that bank was a different number. So being inexperienced I went with it my account number was right. Well my refund should be in my account today and I was looking at my checks and that is when I realized I was right and she was wrong. How will this effect my refund? Does the routing number matter since it is for the same bank?

March 21, 2012 at 2:10 am
(150) William Perez says:

SamRay, I’m very sorry to hear of your troubles. Here’s what I would do. First, I’d call the bank and find someone (preferably a manager) to talk to in their ACH department. Explain the situation. You know which account the refund was deposited into (or attempted to deposit into) because you’ll have the routing number and account number shown on your tax return. Ask the bank bounce the refund back to the IRS. Then call the IRS. Explain the situation, and what the bank decided to do (that is, whether they are sending back the refund or whether the bank has decided to do nothing). See what the IRS says about the situation. If this doesn’t work, you’ll need to escalate the situation at the bank until someone understands what the issue is and how to fix it. Be prepared that this whole process could take anywhere from 8 to 12 weeks (assuming everything goes smoothly with no hassles), to 6 months if things aren’t going smoothly. Be patient and persistent. After this is all over, file a complaint with the Taxpayer Advocate. I want you to lodge two complaints: one, is there needs to be a better way to correct direct deposit issues. This requires legislative changes, and so far only the Advocate has been willing to bring this issue to the attention of Congress. Second complaint should be routed to Karen Hawkins at the Office of Professional Responsibility, and here the complaint is that your tax preparer used a common routing number from memory instead of using the actual routing number that you yourself brought in. This is not professional behavior, and I think direct deposit errors (if it’s the preparer’s fault) should be a liability of the preparer. Finally, if all this work sounds like a hassle (and it is), then ask your tax preparer to do this leg work for you. Believe you me, once a tax preparer goes through these hoops to protect your refund, she’ll never make a direct deposit error again. I speak from experience, having helped correct these sorts of problems. It’s the right thing to do for the client, and I hope she helps pitch in.

April 10, 2012 at 7:57 am
(151) Ram says:

I worked in USA for 3 months in the year 2011 and I filled my taxes recently for the year 2011. I made a mistake with the bank information for direct deposit and now refund check is with the IRS.

currently i am living outside the country. If i ask IRS to mail me the check will they send it overseas( India) ?

May 14, 2012 at 3:16 pm
(152) Ram says:

@@@@@@@@@@@@@:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: just an update:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::IRS will send the check anywhere in the world if they owe you money.

May 26, 2012 at 12:02 pm
(153) Rahul says:

I (and Turbo Tax) accidentally left out the last digit of my bank account number in my 1040. According to “Where’s My Refund” the scheduled date for Direct Deposit was 5/7. Of course I didn’t get any money deposited in my account. The status of “Where’s My Refund” changed on 5/17 when it said that the IRS tried to deposit money but that was returned. So they’d issue my a paper check to be sent at the address of my tax filing and that check would be mailed on 5/23. I received the refund check in the mail on 5/25. Lucky Me !!
Note: Always quadruple check your bank details before filing your taxes.

May 28, 2012 at 7:02 pm
(154) William Perez says:

Rahul, I’m glad to hear that the IRS is issuing you a refund check after the direct deposit didn’t go through. This is how it’s supposed to work. I wish more banks would send these incorrect deposits back to the IRS.

October 2, 2012 at 5:47 pm
(155) D. says:

I just had this happen and I guess it is happening so frequently, that my banking institution (a credit union) will NOT deposit an IRS check that does not match with the name on the return. So luckily for me, after a couple of hours of them researching the situation, they were able to deposit the funds into my account. I had started a congressional inquiry through my Congressman and everything. It appears that getting it via mail may be the way to go in the future. or TRIPLE check the routing and account number before submitting. Good luck everyone.

December 19, 2012 at 10:35 am
(156) LIZBET VAN WYK says:

I deposit money into wrong account, Bank refuse to reverse money. What can I do? Money still in account.

February 7, 2013 at 7:26 pm
(157) Ted says:

I received my refund yesterday…sort of. Less than half of it hit my bank account via direct deposit. The bank said that what is there is what was transmitted to them. The IRS says that they transmitted the entire amount and requested a letter and a copy of my bank statement. Sent it all to them today by certified mail. I’m not holding my breath but I would love to know what happened.

February 14, 2013 at 8:32 pm
(158) Leslie says:

i efiled threw turbo tax. I ended up putting the wrong routing number but right acount number. I called the bank and told them what happend. I live in ny. I used to live in nc. I put the ny routing number in and I was supposed to put the nc one in since I opened the account there. Anyway the bank people told me if the
the name doesnt match they will reject it bk to the irs and the irs would sens me a check. I called turbo tax and they told me even though it says its excepted if the name doesnt mathe the account or deposit then the irs would get it back and send me a check. I hope thats the case. The asociate said it could take maybe 2 weeks to get the check.

February 19, 2013 at 12:34 pm
(159) Eric says:

So, when I filed my return I inadvertently put a closed checking account number on my return to be direct deposited instead of my current account. Should I expect the bank to return the direct deposit since the account is closed and expect a paper check later, or will I be in for one heck of a battle to correct this problem.

February 27, 2013 at 12:08 pm
(160) christina says:

I did the same…. I called Chase and within 10min they had the ACH rerouted to the correct account!!

March 23, 2013 at 3:40 am
(161) Meg says:


It is NOT true that the IRS links a bank account with the bank. I had my mothers tax refund deposited into my account for several years! THIS year I had a personal issue with the bank, they closed all of my account instead of resolving an issue. NOW they took my mothers tax refund and applied a portion of it to my debt in dispute at the bank. After they discovered the deposit was not in my name, they decided to close my account, after already accepting the deposit.. then they told me it was a 3rd party check and I would never see the funds unless my mother files a claim with the IRS. The IRS will not accept any claims other than fraud. You are absoutely on your own. UNLESS someone actually has been given a refund after these circumstances, it really is not healthy to assume. Those ofus who have written banks and spoken with fraud units as well as IRS representativesreally know what we are talking about. The banks can and will accept IRS deposits in ANY name because they KNOW that they can keep the money until you resolve your ISSUE yourself. So hire an attorney is the best piece of advice… especially if you cannot get them to send the money back. TECHNICALLY they should have to send the money back to the IRS when they learn they are taking a deposit that is not in the name of the individual, but they dont always do the honorable thing. In my case, they used the money to pay my debtr, then kept all the rest of the money.. plain and simple. Now it is a cat and mouse game to get them to even consider the LEGAL remedies in returning the money to the correct person. In my case I have to contact the HIGHER ups in the bank… file complaints with Congress… get someone else involved who can put heat on them like the media. THEY CANT keep your money, but it is your job to get it back. UNFORTUNTELY

March 23, 2013 at 12:27 pm
(162) William Perez says:

Thank you for sharing your experience, Meg.

April 12, 2013 at 4:52 pm
(163) Barbara says:

I dont know why people on this site keep saying that you can call the IRS – all numbers I have called keep routing me back to the same information regarding teh status of my refund and I cannot seem to get through to an operator to save my life.

My husband and I are expecting a substantial refund. The IRS where’s my refund site reflects that the refund was approved and processed and sent to our bank for direct deposit on 4/3/13. We are instructed to call our bank and tax preparer if we still do not have the funds by 4/8/13. It is now 4/12/13. I have called the bank multiple times and am told that no depsit was received, nothing has been rejected. I called the accountant who indicates that the routing number and account numbers have been double checked and are correct. Not sure how long we should wait before initiating a trace – and how to do that if one cannot get through to a live person at IRS?

May 13, 2013 at 6:41 pm
(164) Pamela says:

I need help! the lady that did my taxes sent my tax refunds to the wrong bank. She sent it to Chase instead of Wells Fargo. I called Chase bank to check if anyone had the same account number, but luckily no one had that account number. So she told me that it should have been sent back to the IRS. So i called the IRS today and they told me to call back tomorrow so they can help me figure out where my refunds are. PLEASE HELP! Don’t know what to do!!

May 13, 2013 at 8:09 pm
(165) William Perez says:

Pamela, sorry to hear this has happened to your refund. The procedure I use for correcting the problem of incorrect direct deposit information is outlined the article on direct deposits. Scroll down to the 7-step process at the end of the article. You’ve already figured out which bank the deposit went to. The next step is to talk to an ACH manager at that bank and persuade them to sent that refund money back to the IRS. Once that happens, the IRS will then issue you a check in the mail.

June 7, 2013 at 9:03 am
(166) Lester says:

The truth of the matter is that the IRS does not actually send out refunds, they are a collection agency. FMS issues refunds, the IRS just verifies the figures. Whatever info is listed on the return, that is where the refund is sent. It is up to the bank to decide to send it back if the info does not match the account. If a direct deposit is not received, it can be traced after 5 days, paper check after 4 weeks. If the bank returns the funds, the check will be mailed in 3 weeks. The IRS has no authority to request the funds to be sent back unless it was an IRS error. You can always contact your local Taxpayer Advocate Office, but they can’t do anything but put it on there error system to report to Congress. As everyone else said, make sure you double-check the info before submitting. As far calling the IRS, 1-800-829-1040, press “0″ twice to speak to an operator.
Former IRS Csr and Taxpayer Advocate employee

June 21, 2013 at 1:19 am
(167) Naenae says:

my issue is that on my tax paperwork i had my federal direct deposited and my state not deposited, yesterday in the mail i got a direct deposit check slip for my state fefund. the account number and routing number arent even the same as where i had the federal going to… i checked through my return paperwork and the box IS checked that states my state return will not be direct deposited…. what do i do about it?

June 21, 2013 at 8:43 pm
(168) William Perez says:

Naenae, Ask your tax preparer for a complete copy of the tax return from his or her software program. Compare the bank information for both the federal and state returns. I suspect, that the preparer may have put in the wrong bank information. Did you receive your federal direct deposit? If there is a discrepancy between what the preparer has and what you have printed on your return, then call the IRS’s Office of Professional Responsibility. They can investigate whether the preparer made an error with the direct deposits and if so, take the appropriate action.

September 26, 2013 at 3:04 am
(169) LindaCardwell says:

Don’t waste your time trying to contact the bank etc. the IRS etc. First
thing first depending on the amount of the refund go directly to the Superior Court in your district and file what a small claims case against the tax preparer or individual who had your refund direct deposited into their bank account. If you need help most courts have mediation services available for you for free but you have to get there before they open the court house and get in line for that, most courts only take a handful of clients each day. Make sure to take all the information you have to the courthouse when you go. If you do not have his bank information go to your nearest IRS office and request a copy of your return that was filed electronically that will have the bank info on it and the deposit date as well. Make sure to have the mediator fill out a civil subpoena for the bank manager to appear as well as a deposition subpoena for production of documents and things that way the bank manager will produce the bank account information with the persons name account number etc. Just after he/she is served with the small claims contact TIGTA ask if someone can contact you immediately regarding the matter and they may send an investigator to the court.
Than sit back and watch the thief go down hard when the judge sentences him with his wrong doings you cant fail just make sure you don’t miss a thing!!!!!!

December 10, 2013 at 11:30 am
(170) jmarie says:

Have read most of the posts here and wanted to comment on what I have concluded. First, regardless of whether it was taxpayer or tax preparer error, the IRS states it is not responsible. The Taxpayer Advocate Service will do nothing as well. Believe me, I have tried. My direct deposit went into another persons account, due to my error of having one account number wrong, and this person kept it. Have also spoken to a relative who worked for the IRS as an in house attorney.

According to the IRS Manual 21.4.5 Erroneous Refunds – (01-15-2013) Erroneous Direct Deposit
A direct deposit into an account that is not the taxpayer’s is a Category “D” erroneous refund only if the error was made by the IRS.

The IRS is not responsible for misdirected direct deposits that are a result of bank error or the taxpayer providing the wrong Routing Transit Number (RTN) or bank account number.

You can find the entire manual online if you enter the following:
Internal Revenue Manual 21.4.4 Manual Refunds

My next step will be to find a bank branch manager who will look into why they deposited this into an account with a different name and SS#. Am also considering court action with my bank but will have to research this as well. Any suggestions would be appreciated where taking my bank to task is concerned.

January 6, 2014 at 11:16 pm
(171) JSchenck says:

Jmarie – Direct Deposit is structured through agreements and the Rules of the National Automated Clearing House Association, which state that the Receiving bank “may rely solely on the account number” when posting transactions. Large banks handle billions of transactions annually, for the large part systematically. Checking the name/social on every transaction would be an enormous task that would basically eradicate all of the benefits of direct deposit, not to mention that not all transactions contain this information. To make the system work, this act is simply not required by the Rules.

Of course, by participating, the government also accepts these Rules (with a few special exceptions of course). The government does require banks to return government payments in which the name or social doesn’t match, but only if the bank is aware of it and if the funds are available. The unfortunate circumstances relayed throughout this forum are single erroneous transactions out of millions. The simple truth is that by the time the bank is made aware of the error, the money is usually gone.

January 7, 2014 at 1:26 am
(172) William Perez says:

Thank you for this information, JSchenck.

February 19, 2014 at 9:27 am
(173) Z. Pierre says:

This happened to me as well. My keys sometimes stick on my laptop, and I left off one digit of my acct # with BOA. I called BOA and they said there was no way for them to track it because the acct# would be invalid. I called the IRS and they told me it bounced back and that a check would be in the mail for me today. It originally went to my bank around 2/6 for direct deposit. It bounced back after a few days, so it only took about 2 weeks from the original date of deposit for them to issue me a check, but the lady at the IRS # says it can take up to 5 weeks in some circumstances.
Just wanted to share my experience.

February 22, 2014 at 9:52 am
(174) Brittany Hawkins says:

I got the account number from my tax preparer & took it to the bank. They then put a freeze on that individuals account so that they have no access to the account. I will be going to irs personally Monday to inform someone of the situation & hopefully get results.

March 6, 2014 at 8:40 am
(175) Rachael says:

What do I do if I recieved my federal tax return two times for the same amount in my checking account?

March 6, 2014 at 5:28 pm
(176) William Perez says:

Rachel, try calling the bank, maybe it’s just a mix up. Then, depending on what the bank says, then you may need to follow up with the IRS if it still needs to be sorted out.

March 18, 2014 at 7:16 am
(177) Keronie says:

MY mother tax return went into my saving accounts, chase closed my account and said that IRS has to do a recall after 2 months. I already gave my mom her money and now my money is being held by chase and I will get a check in the mail after my mom money is taking out and held until IRS ask for the money, but IRS told my mom they will not ask for the money because it was release and accepted by the bank. I do not know what choices I have to get my money from chase back, it is over $6000 dollars. I live in New York.

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