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IRS Tax TipsApril 11, 2024

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Issue Number: Tax Tip 2024-32


Direct deposit is the best way to get a federal tax refund

Direct deposit is the best way to receive a tax refund. The IRS encourages taxpayers to file by the April 15 federal tax deadline and choose direct deposit to receive any refund they may be owed.

Benefits of direct deposit

  • It’s fast. The fastest way for taxpayers to get their refund is to file electronically and choose direct deposit. Taxpayers who file a paper return can also choose direct deposit, but it will take longer to process the return and get a refund.
  • It’s secure. Since refunds are electronically deposited, there’s no risk of having a paper check stolen or lost in the mail.
  • It’s easy. Taxpayers can simply follow the instructions when selecting direct deposit as a refund method and enter their account information as directed. Taxpayers can find their routing and account numbers on their online banking page, banking statements or a personal check.
  • It provides options. Taxpayers can split a refund into several financial accounts. These include checking, savings, health savings and certain retirement accounts. They should use IRS Form 8888, Allocation of Refund, Including Savings Bond Purchases, to deposit a refund in up to three accounts. This form can’t be used to designate part of a refund to pay tax preparers.

Taxpayers should deposit refunds into U.S. bank accounts in their own name, their spouse’s name or both. They should avoid making a deposit into accounts owned by others. Some banks require both spouses’ names on the account to deposit a tax refund from a joint return. Taxpayers should check with their bank for direct deposit rules.

Get a bank account
Taxpayers who don’t have a bank account can visit the FDIC website for information on banks that let them open an account online and how to choose the right account. Veterans can use the Veterans Benefits Banking Program for access to financial services at participating banks.

Mobile apps may be an option
Some mobile apps and prepaid debit cards allow for direct deposit of tax refunds. They must have routing and account numbers associated with them that can be entered on a tax return. Taxpayers should check with the mobile app provider or financial institution to confirm which numbers to use.

Taxpayers must have their routing and account numbers for direct deposit available when they are ready to file. The IRS can’t accept this information after a return is filed.

There is a limit of three direct deposit refunds a year made into a single financial account or prepaid debit card.

More information
Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax (For Individuals)

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