Mistakes happen, even on important documents such as your tax returns. If you accidentally provided the government with the wrong bank account number for your tax refund, you may be worried about receiving your refund in a timely manner, if at all. You can, however, correct the mistake and collect your refund in one of two ways.
Forgotten Digit in Your Account Number
If the account number you gave the IRS is missing a digit, it will fail to pass a simple validation check with the bureau. If this is the case, contact the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 to let them know you accidentally omitted a number from your account number.
Be prepared to answer any questions during this conversation, by having a copy of your latest tax statement handy, including personal information you may not have memorized and the amount you expect back as a tax refund.
Expect to receive your refund in the form of a paper check in the mail after your tax return has been processed. The IRS will not allow you to correct your account number over the phone, which is why they must mail a check instead.
Wrong Digit in Your Account Number
Call or visit your bank if you gave the IRS an account number containing inaccurate digits. Giving the wrong account number may have caused the IRS to deposit your refund into the wrong person's account. Depending on where you bank, your financial institution may need you to visit a branch in person to answer questions with a banking representative.
Work with your bank to recover any funds that may have been placed into another customer's account with the number you provided the IRS. Bring photo identification, your account number and copies of your tax return in case your bank needs to see any verification. Your bank must return the funds to the IRS before you receive a refund, so it's important to work closely with your institution and make sure funds are properly distributed back to the government. The IRS is not responsible for coordinating this effort.
Expect a paper check from the IRS in the mail after your bank has returned the funds. If you don't get a check two weeks after the bank has returned the money, fill out Form 3911, the Taxpayer Statement Regarding Refund document, and send it to the IRS by mail.
Crystal Vogt has been an editor and freelance writer since 2005 and has had her work mentioned on MediaBistro, Yahoo! Finance and MSN Money, among other outlets. She received her M.S. in journalism from Boston University and holds a B.A. in English from UC Santa Barbara.