You can deposit your federal tax refund into one, two, or three bank accounts by using IRS Form 8888. You can even have your refund deposited into an individual retirement account, if your financial institution allows for direct deposit. Form 8888 can also be used to purchase Series I U.S. savings bonds in increments of $50, up to a maximum purchase of $5,000.
Split Refund Basics
If you want your federal refund deposited into just one bank account, use the direct deposit lines directly on the tax form.
If you want your federal refund deposited into two or three bank accounts, use IRS Form 8888 to indicate how you want your refunds to be split.
You do not need to split your refunds evenly. For example, if you have a $4,000 federal refund, you can have $500 sent to a checking account, $1,000 sent to a savings account, and $2,500 sent to an individual retirement account.
Inside Tip for Form 8888
If there's an error on your tax return that results in a higher or lower refund amount, the IRS will adjust the amount of money deposited in the last account designated on Form 8888. Therefore, I recommend listing your bank accounts in this order:
- Individual retirement account
- Savings account
- Checking account
This way, if the amount that shows up in your checking account is different than the amount you expect, you will have an indication that the IRS made some changes to your tax return. Also, it will help ensure that the money you want to set aside for retirement savings will be properly deposited.
Split Refund Resources from the IRS
- Form 8888 (PDF), Direct Deposit of Refund to More Than One Account
- Frequently Asked Questions about Splitting 2006 Federal Income Tax Refunds
Make Sure Your Direct Deposit Information is Accurate
Make sure the bank routing number and your account number on Form 8888 are accurate. Triple check these numbers. If in doubt, contact your financial institution to make sure the direct deposit numbers are completely accurate. Incorrect direct deposit information can result in a permanently lost tax refund. Please don't let that happen to you.