Topic 152 - Refund Information
Taxpayers have three options for receiving their individual federal income tax refund: a paper check, direct deposit (electronic funds transfer) into a checking, savings or other account; or a purchase of U.S. Series I Savings Bonds. Taxpayers may request that refunds be directly deposited in up to three separate accounts. The refund must be $1.00 or more. Form 8888, Direct Deposit of Refund to More Than One Account, will give taxpayers a choice of selecting up to three accounts such as checking, savings and retirement accounts. Note: You cannot have your refund deposited into more than one account if you file Form 8379 (PDF), Injured Spouse Allocation.
If you file a complete accurate tax return, your refund will be issued within six weeks from the received date. If you filed electronically, refund checks will be issued within three weeks after the acknowledgment date. Refunds from amended returns will be issued within 8–12 weeks. Injured spouse claims can take longer, depending on the circumstances. Refer to Topic 203 for more information concerning Injured Spouse Claims.
To check on your refund, go to "Where's My Refund" or call the Refund Hotline at 800–829–1954. Please allow 72 hours after you electronically file or 3 weeks after you mail your return before using the automated systems. When you call, you will need to provide your Social Security number, your filing status, and the exact whole dollar amount of the refund shown on your return. There are several reasons for delayed refunds. Refer to Topic 303 for a checklist of common errors when preparing your tax return, and for additional items that may delay the processing of your return.
If you receive a refund to which you are not entitled, or one for an amount that is more than you expected, do not cash the check until you receive a notice explaining the difference. Follow the instructions on the notice.
On the other hand, if you receive a refund for a smaller amount than you expected, you may cash the check, and, if it is determined that you should have received more, you will later receive a check for the difference. If you did not receive a notice and you have questions about the amount of your refund, wait two weeks after receiving the refund, then call 800-829-1040.
The IRS will assist you in obtaining a replacement check for a refund check that is verified as lost or stolen.