When Can I file my 2016 Taxes in 2017?

Tax season will begin Monday, Jan. 23, 2017, and reminded taxpayers claiming certain tax credits to expect a longer wait for refunds. This is the first day that you can file a 2016 tax return.

The IRS will begin accepting electronic tax returns that day, with more than 153 million individual tax returns expected to be filed in 2017. The IRS again expects more than four out of five tax returns will be prepared electronically using tax return preparation software.

 

When can I file my 2016 Tax Return?

Many software companies and tax professionals will be accepting tax returns before Jan. 23 and then will submit the returns when IRS systems open. The IRS will begin processing paper tax returns at the same time. There is no advantage to filing tax returns on paper in early January instead of waiting for the IRS to begin accepting e-filed returns.

 

When can I claim the earned income tax credit?

You can claim when earned income tax credit when you file your 2016 tax return. The IRS reminds taxpayers that a new law requires the IRS to hold refunds claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) until Feb. 15. In addition, the IRS wants taxpayers to be aware it will take several days for these refunds to be released and processed through financial institutions. Factoring in weekends and the President’s Day holiday, the IRS cautions that many affected taxpayers may not have actual access to their refunds until the week of Feb. 27.

 

What is the 2017 Tax Deadline?

The filing deadline to submit 2016 tax returns is Tuesday, April 18, 2017, rather than the traditional April 15 date. In 2017, April 15 falls on a Saturday, and this would usually move the filing deadline to the following Monday — April 17. However, Emancipation Day — a legal holiday in the District of Columbia — will be observed on that Monday, which pushes the nation’s filing deadline to Tuesday, April 18, 2017. Under the tax law, legal holidays in the District of Columbia affect the filing deadline across the nation.

 

When will you get your 2016 tax refund?

Beginning in 2017, a new law requires the IRS to hold refunds on tax returns claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit until mid-February. Under the change required by Congress in the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act, the IRS must hold the entire refund — even the portion not associated with the EITC and ACTC — until at least Feb. 15. This change helps ensure that taxpayers get the refund they are owed by giving the IRS more time to help detect and prevent fraud. After refunds leave the IRS, it takes additional time for them to be processed and for financial institutions to accept and deposit the refunds to bank accounts and products. The IRS reminds taxpayers many financial institutions do not process payments on weekends or holidays, which can affect when refunds reach taxpayers. For EITC and ACTC filers, the three-day holiday weekend involving President’s Day may affect their refund timing.

 

2016 Earned Income Tax Credit Refund Check

The IRS will begin to release EITC/ACTC refunds starting Feb. 15. However, the IRS cautions taxpayers that these refunds likely won’t arrive in bank accounts or debit cards until the week of February 27.

 

Refund Timing for Earned Income Tax Credit

Be careful not to count on getting an EITC refund by a certain date, especially when making major purchases or paying other financial obligations. You don’t need to wait until Feb. 15 to file your tax return. While the IRS must hold the refund until Feb. 15, it will begin taking the steps it normally does to process your tax return once the filing season starts.

When will EITC Refund arrive in bank account?

The IRS will begin to release EITC/ACTC refunds starting Feb. 15. However, the IRS cautions taxpayers that these refunds likely won’t arrive in bank accounts or debit cards until the week of February 27 — if there are no processing issues with the tax return and the taxpayer chose direct deposit. This additional period is due to several factors, including banking and financial systems needing time to process deposits.

 

Check Status of 2016 EITC Refund

Check Where’s My Refund on IRS.gov or the IRS mobile app, IRS2Go, after February 15 for your personalized refund status. Taxpayers will not see a refund date on Where’s My Refund ‎or through their software packages until then. The IRS, tax preparers and tax software will not have additional information on refund dates, so taxpayers should not contact or call them about refunds before the end of February.

It takes additional time for refunds to be processed after leaving the IRS, and for financial institutions to accept and deposit them to bank accounts and products like debit cards. Also many financial institutions do not process payments on weekends or holidays, which can affect when refunds reach taxpayers. For EITC and ACTC filers, the three-day holiday weekend involving President’s Day affects their refund timing.

 

Additional Child Tax Credit Refund

In addition to the earned income tax credit, the refunds will be delayed for the additional child tax credit refunds as well. This applies to the entire refund, even the portion not associated with these credits.

 

IRS Tax Refund Security Measures

To better protect taxpayers, the IRS recently upgraded its identity verification process for certain online self-help tools. The purpose is to prevent taxpayer impersonations and account takeovers by identity thieves. All IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers will offer appointment service by December 2016. If you believe your tax issue cannot be handled online or by phone, always check IRS.gov for days and hours of service as well as services offered at the IRS TAC location you plan to visit. For most services you must call to make an appointment.

Remember, while the IRS will begin to issue EITC/ACTC refunds starting Feb. 15, you should not count on actually seeing your refund until the week of Feb. 27 — if you chose direct deposit or a debit card and there are no processing issues with your tax return. Your refund should only be deposited directly into accounts that are in your own name, your spouse’s name or both, if it’s a joint account. These are some of the reasons a financial institution may reject a direct deposit, resulting in a paper check. Also, no more than three electronic refunds can be directly deposited into a single financial account or pre-paid debit card. Taxpayers who exceed the limit will receive an IRS notice and a paper refund.

 

Will calling the IRS help me get my refund any faster?

Calling the IRS will not speed up your refund.  Phone and walk-in representatives can only research the status of your refund if it has been 21 days or more since you filed electronically, more than 6 weeks since you mailed your paper return, or Where’s My Refund? directs you to contact us. If we need more information to process your tax return, we will contact you by mail. Otherwise Where’s My Refund? has the most up to date information available about your refund. Use the IRS2Gomobile app or use the Where’s My Refund? tool. Both are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

 

 

 

 

When can I file taxes in 2017?

The IRS still has not announced the first day they will begin accepted 2016 tax returns in January 2017. Normally, the first filing day of a tax return is toward the end of January.

 

The first day you can file taxes in 2017 will usually be announced in Novermber 2016. Check back for more information on when you can file taxes in 2017.

How Quick is the IRS Issuing Refunds in 2016?

IRS Issues Nine Out of 10 Refunds in Less than 21 Days

The IRS notes that  taxpayers that it issues 90 percent of refunds in less than 21 days. The best way to check the status of a refund is online through the “Where’s My Refund?” tool at IRS.gov or via the IRS2Go phone app.

“As February approaches, more and more taxpayers want to know when they can expect their refunds,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “There aren’t any secret tricks to checking on the status of a refund. Using IRS.gov is the best way for taxpayers to get the latest information.”

 

When do 2016 Tax Refunds Arrive?

Many taxpayers are eager to know precisely when their money will be arriving, but checking “Where’s My Refund” more than once a day will not produce new information. The status of refunds is refreshed only once a day, generally overnight.

“Where’s My Refund?” has the most up to date information available about your refund. Taxpayers should use this tool rather than calling.

 

IRS Wheres My Refund Tool

Taxpayers can use “Where’s My Refund?”  to start checking on the status of their return within 24 hours after IRS has received an e-filed return or four weeks after receipt of a mailed paper return. “Where’s My Refund?” has a tracker that displays progress through three stages: (1) Return Received, (2) Refund Approved and (3) Refund Sent.

The IRS2Go phone app is another fast and safe tool taxpayers can use to check the status of a refund. In addition, users can use the app to find free tax preparation help, make a payment, watch the IRS YouTube channel, get the latest IRS news, and subscribe to filing season updates and tax tips. The app is free for Android devices from the Google Play Store or from the Apple App Store for Apple devices.

Users of both the IRS2Go app and “Where’s my Refund” tools must have information from their current, pending tax return to access their refund information.

 

Calling IRS About Tax Refunds

The IRS reminded taxpayers there’s no advantage to calling about refunds. IRS representatives can only research the status of your refund in limited situations: if it has been 21 days or more since you filed electronically, more than six weeks since you mailed your paper return, or “Where’s My Refund?” directs you to contact us. If the IRS needs more information to process your tax return, we will contact you by mail.

The IRS continues to strongly encourage the use of e-file and direct deposit as the fastest and safest way to file an accurate return and receive a tax refund. More than four out of five tax returns are expected to be filed electronically, with a similar proportion of refunds issued through direct deposit.

The IRS Free File program

The IRS Free File program offers free brand-name software to about 100 million individuals and families with incomes of $62,000 or less. Seventy percent of the nation’s taxpayers are eligible for IRS Free File. All taxpayers regardless of income will again have access to free online fillable forms, which provide electronic versions of IRS paper forms to complete and file. Both options are available through IRS.gov.

See the “What to Expect for Refunds in 2016” page for more.

IRS tax refunds, amounts due, and recordkeeping

In this tax tutorial, you will learn about refunds, amounts due, and recordkeeping. Taxpayers receive refunds when their total tax payments are greater than the total tax.

 

How to Receive Tax Refunds

Refunds can be received by check in the mail or by direct deposit (electronic funds transfer) into a checking or savings account. Taxpayers must pay an amount due when the total tax is greater than their total tax payments. Payments can be made by check, money order, credit card, or direct debit (electronic filers only). It is important for taxpayers to keep good records in order to prepare their tax returns and support items on their tax returns.

This information is

  • reported on the individual income tax return.
  • used to determine the tax.
  • used to determine the refund or amount due.

 

Why do people get tax refunds from the IRS?

The government pays a taxpayer a refund when the taxpayer’s total tax payments are greater than the total tax.Taxpayers receive refunds from the government.Taxpayers must pay an amount due when the total tax is greater than their total tax payments.Taxpayers pay the amount due to the government.

Total tax payments include

  • federal income tax withheld.
  • earned income credit
  • refundable education credit
  • estimated tax payments, if any and
  • additional child tax credit, if any

Information About IRS Tax Refunds

When total tax payments are greater than the total tax, taxpayers can

  • receive the refund by direct deposit to a bank account.
  • receive a split refund dividing your refund, in any proportion you want, and direct deposit the funds in up to three different bank accounts.
  • receive the refund by check in the mail.
  • apply the refund to the estimated tax for the following year.

 

What can  you do with tax refund?

    • Buy U.S. Treasury marketable securities and savings bonds by requesting a deposit of their refund to a TreasuryDirect® online account.
    • Use their refund to buy up to $5,000 in U.S. Series I Savings Bonds.
    • Use their refund to begin a savings program and to plan for retirement.

 

Why Direct Deposit Tax Refund?

Direct Deposit Benefits
Speed receive the refund fast
Security no check to get lost
Convenience no need to go to the financial institution to deposit a check
Cost less than issuing a check

Direct Deposit Guidelines for Tax Refunds

 

Where's My Refund

It’s fast, easy and safe. You can go online to check the status of your refund 24 hours after the IRS receives your e-filed return, or 4 weeks after you mail a paper return. Go to www.irs.gov and click on Where’s My Refund? If you do not have internet access at home, school, a public library, community center, etc., call 1-800-829-1954 FREEor 1-800-829-4477 FREE.

Lines 55 - 73 of Paul and Su-Mai Wong's form 1040

 

 Calculating Amount of Tax Refund Due

When the total tax is greater than the total tax payments, taxpayers can:

Pay by check or money order payable to the United States Treasury

  • include name, address, Social Security number, tax form, and tax year
  • submit payment with Form 1040-V

Pay by credit card

  • contact service provider via telephone or Internet
  • pay convenience fee

Pay by direct debit from a bank account

  • (only available for returns that are electronically filed)

Taxpayers who cannot make payment in full need to contact the IRS to discuss payment options.

IRS Recordkeeping for Individuals

It is important that taxpayers keep good records to

  • identify sources of income.
  • keep track of expenses.
  • prepare tax returns quickly and accurately.
  • support items reported on tax returns.

Typical records include:

  • checkbooks, check registers, monthly statements, and Forms 1099-INT
  • receipts, invoices, and sales slips
  • pay stubs and Form W-2

Some taxpayers use computerized systems to track income and expenses.

  • These taxpayers also need to keep original documents, such as sales slips and receipts.

 

Keeping Copies of Old Tax Returns

Taxpayers should print and keep copies of the tax returns they send to the IRS. Taxpayers need to keep tax-related documents for at least three years from the date the return was filed. Taxpayers receive refunds when their total tax payments are greater than the total tax Refunds can be received by check in the mail or by direct deposit (electronic funds transfer) into a checking or savings account Taxpayers must pay an amount due when the total tax is greater than their total tax payments.

Paying for Old Tax Returns

Payments can be made by check, money order, credit card, or direct debit (electronic filers only). It is important for taxpayers to keep good records in order to prepare their tax returns and support items on their tax returns.

Tax Refund Offsets for Unpaid Child Support

The Department of Treasury’s Bureau of the Fiscal Service (BFS) issues IRS tax refunds and Congress authorizes BFS to conduct the Treasury Offset Program (TOP). Through the TOP program, BFS may reduce your refund (overpayment) and offset it to pay:

  • Past-due child support;
  • Federal agency non-tax debts;
  • State income tax obligations; or
  • Certain unemployment compensation debts owed to a state (Generally, these are debts for (1) compensation paid due to fraud, or (2) contributions owing to a state fund that were not paid).

 

Government Debt and the IRS

You can contact the agency with which you have a debt to determine if your debt was submitted for a tax refund offset. You may call BFS’s TOP call center at the number below for an agency address and phone number. If your debt meets submission criteria for offset, BFS will reduce your refund as needed to pay off the debt you owe to the agency. Any portion of your remaining refund after offset is issued in a check or direct deposited as originally requested on the return.

 

Bureau of Fiscal Services Notice

BFS will send you a notice if an offset occurs. The notice will reflect the original refund amount, your offset amount, the agency receiving the payment, and the address and telephone number of the agency. BFS will notify the IRS of the amount taken from your refund. You should contact the agency shown on the notice if you believe you do not owe the debt or if you are disputing the amount taken from your refund. If you do not receive a notice:

  • Contact the BFS’s TOP call center at 800-304-3107 or TDD 866-297-0517, Monday through Friday 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. CST.
  • Contact the IRS only if your original refund amount shown on the BFS offset notice differs from the refund amount shown on your tax return.

 

Form 8379 Injured Spouse Allocation.

If you filed a joint return and you are not responsible for your spouse’s debt, you are entitled to request your portion of the refund back from the IRS. You may file a claim for this amount by filing Form 8379 (PDF), Injured Spouse Allocation.

 

Filing Form 8379

You may file Form 8379 in any of the following ways:

  • With your original joint tax return ( Form 1040 (PDF), Form 1040A (PDF), or Form 1040EZ (PDF)),
  • With your amended joint tax return ( Form 1040X (PDF)), or
  • By itself after you received notification of an offset.
  • If you are filing a Form 8379 with your joint return by mail or with an amended return, write INJURED SPOUSE in the top left corner of the first page of the joint return.

 

Form 8379 Injured Spouse Allocation Offset on Taxes

The IRS can process your Form 8379 before an offset occurs. If you file Form 8379 with your original return, it may take 11 weeks to process an electronically-filed return or 14 weeks if you filed a paper return. If you file the Form 8379 by itself after a joint return has been processed, then processing will take about 8 weeks. To avoid delays, be sure to follow the Form 8379 Instructions (PDF).

 

Using IRS Form 8379

When filing Form 8379 by itself, you must show both spouses’ social security numbers in the same order as they appeared on your joint income tax return. You, the injured spouse, must sign the form. Follow the instructions on Form 8379 carefully and be sure to attach the required Forms W-2 and 1099 showing federal income tax withholding to avoid delays. Do not attach the previously filed joint tax return to the Form 8379 when filing it by itself. Send Form 8379 to the Service Center where you filed your original return and allow at least 8 weeks for the IRS to process your request.

 

Tax Refund Injured Spouse Allocation Offset on Taxes

The IRS will compute the injured spouse’s share of the joint refund. If you lived in a community property state during the tax year, the IRS will divide the joint refund based upon state community property law. Not all debts are subject to a tax refund offset. To determine whether an offset will occur on a debt owed (other than federal tax), contact BFS’s TOP call center at 800-304-3107 (866-297-0517 for TTY/TDD help).

Splitting Federal Income Tax Refunds with IRS

You have several options for receiving your federal income tax refund. You can:

  • Split your direct deposit refund among two or three different accounts, with up to three different U.S. financial institutions;
  • Direct deposit your refund into a single checking or savings account; or
  • Receive your refund in a paper check.
  • Buy up to $5,000 in U.S. Series I Savings Bonds with your refund.

 

Splitting Direct Deposit ACH Tax Refunds

Using Direct Deposit is the safest and easiest way to get your refund. Direct Deposit is the electronic transfer of your refund from the Department of Treasury to the financial account of your choice. Eight out of 10 taxpayers use direct deposit for their refunds. This is the same method used by 98 percent of Social Security and Veterans Affairs beneficiaries. It is easy, safe and secure. And it saves money for all taxpayers. It costs more than $1 to print and mail a refund check and about a dime for direct deposit. All you need is an account number and a routing number to get your refund faster.

 

How to Split Tax Refunds

Splitting your refund is easy and can be done electronically if you use IRS Free File or other tax software. If you file a paper return, use IRS’ Form 8888, Allocation of Refund (Including Savings Bond Purchases), to split your refund among two or three different accounts. Form 8888 is not required if you want IRS to direct deposit your refund into a single account; you can use the direct deposit line on Forms 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ.

With split refunds, you have a convenient option for managing your money — sending some of your refund to an account for immediate use and some for future savings — teamed with the speed and safety of direct deposit. It’s a win-win.

 

What is a split tax refund?

A split refund lets you divide your refund, in any proportion you want, and direct deposit funds in up to three different accounts with U.S. financial institutions. And now you can also use part or all of your refund to buy U.S. Series I Savings Bonds for yourself or someone else.

 

What are the benefits of splitting my tax refund?

Instead of depositing your refund into a checking or savings account and later moving part of your refund to another account, you can allocate your refund among up to three different accounts and send your money where you want it the first time.

By splitting your refund, you get the convenience of directing some of your refund to your checking account for immediate needs and sending some to savings for future use. Plus, you get the safety and speed of direct deposit, meaning you will have access to your refund faster than if you opt to receive a paper check.

 

How do I split my tax refund refund?
Simply follow the instructions your tax software provides to do it electronically. If you file a paper tax return, complete and attach Form 8888, Allocation of Refund (Including Savings Bonds Purchases) to your federal income tax return to tell IRS how much and to which of your accounts you want your refund deposited.

 

Can I still send my refund to just one account?
You can ask IRS to direct deposit your refund into just one account, or into two or three different accounts. The choice is yours.

If you want your refund deposited into one account, use the special direct deposit lines on your tax return (Forms 1040, 1040A, etc.). If you want your refund deposited to two or three accounts, or you want to buy Savings Bonds with part of your return and deposit the remainder to two or three accounts, use Form 8888, Allocation of Refund (Including Savings Bond Purchases).

 

Does my refund have to exceed a certain amount to split it into different accounts?
Your deposit to each account must be at least one dollar. If you want to buy Savings Bonds with part of your refund, the amount you request must be a multiple of $50.

If I want to split my refund among different accounts, can those accounts be with different financial institutions?
You can split your refund among up to three different U.S. financial institutions as long as they will accept a direct deposit to your account.

Remember: You can ask IRS to direct deposit your refund into your account, your spouse’saccount or a joint account. But you should verify that your financial institution accepts a joint refund into an individual account.

Must I file electronically to split my refund?
You can split your refund whether you file electronically or on paper. However, IRS recommends using e-file to avoid simple mistakes that could change the amount of your refund, and therefore the amount available for deposit. You can file your tax return electronically for free using IRS Free File.

Can I split my refund if I file a 1040-EZ?
You can split your refund on an original return filed on any of the following: Form 1040, 1040A, 1040EZ, 1040NR, 1040NR-EZ, 1040-SS, or 1040-PR. However, you cannot split your refund if you file Form 8379, Injured Spouse Allocation.

Will splitting my refund cause a delay in depositing my refund?
Splitting your refund will not cause a delay. In fact, because it uses direct deposit technology, your funds will be in your account(s) faster than if you opt to receive your refund in a paper check.

Can I split my refund between a direct deposit and a paper check?
You can split your refund between direct deposit and a paper check by using Form 8888, Allocation of Refund (Including Savings Bond Purchases). You can split your refund up to 7 ways in any combination of the following: 3 direct deposits, 3 Series I savings bonds, 1 paper check.

Can I split my refund if I have only two accounts?
You can electronically direct your refund to one, two or three separate accounts at your discretion. This change gives you more convenience, flexibility and options in managing your finances.

You can designate a direct deposit to one account directly on the Form 1040 series of forms or you can use Form 8888, Allocation of Refund (Including Savings Bond Purchases), to split your refund among two or three different accounts.

Remember: You can ask IRS to direct deposit your refund into your account, your spouse’saccount or a joint account. You should verify that your financial institution accepts a joint refund into an individual account.

Must I split my refund equally?
You have the flexibility of dividing and directing your refund any way you want. There is no requirement to make the deposits equal. However, if you are buying U.S. Series I Savings Bonds, the amount you request must be a multiple of $50.

Can I direct IRS to deposit all or part of my refund to any of my accounts with any financial institution?
IRS will direct deposit refunds to any of your checking or savings accounts with any U.S. financial institution that accepts electronic deposits. However, you should verify that your financial institution accepts direct deposits for the type of account you want to direct your deposit to and verify the account and routing numbers.

Reminder: Your refund should only be deposited directly into accounts that are in your own name, your spouse’s name or both if it’s a joint account.

If I am filing a joint return with my spouse, must our refund be deposited to a jointly-held account?
You can ask IRS to direct deposit a refund on a joint return into your account, your spouse’s account, or a joint account. However, state and financial institution rules can vary and you should first verify your financial institution will accept a joint refund into an individual account.

What types of accounts are eligible to receive my refund via direct deposit?
You can direct your refund to any of your checking or savings accounts with a U.S. financial institution as long as your financial institution accepts direct deposits for that type of account and you provide valid routing and account numbers. Examples of savings accounts include: passbook savings, individual development accounts, individual retirement arrangements, health savings accounts, Archer MSAs, and Coverdell education savings accounts.

However, some financial institutions will accept direct deposits for some types of accounts, but not others. Contact your financial institution to ensure they will accept your direct deposit and verify your account and routing number.

IRS also encourages taxpayers and their preparers to ensure account and routing numbers are accurately entered on returns so your funds can be deposited as intended and remember that your refund should only be deposited directly into accounts that are in your own name, your spouse’s name or both if it’s a joint account.

Can I direct part or all of my refund to my prior year individual retirement account?
IRS will deposit your refund to any of your checking or savings accounts with U.S. financial institutions per the account and routing numbers you provide, but you should ensure your financial institution will accept direct deposits to prior year IRA accounts.

As with all IRA deposits, the account owner is responsible for informing their IRA trustee of the year for which the deposit is intended and for ensuring their contributions do not exceed their annual contribution limitations. IRS direct deposits of federal tax refunds will not indicate a contribution year for IRA accounts.

If you fail to notify your IRA trustee of the intended year for the deposit, your trustee can assume the deposit is for a prior year.

IRS is not responsible for the timeliness or contribution amounts related to an IRA direct deposit. Since an error on your return or an offset to your refund could change the amount of refund available for deposit (for more information, see What if I make a mistake on my return that decreases the amount of my refund?What if I owe back taxes to the IRS?, and Are there other conditions that could reduce the amount of my refund and change the amount I want deposited to each account?) you must verify the deposit was actually made to the account by the due date of the return (without regard to extensions). If the deposit is not made into your account by the due date of the return (without regard to extensions), the deposit is not a contribution for that year. You must file an amended return and reduce any IRA deduction and any retirement savings contributions credit you claimed.

Can I direct part of my refund to pay a loan?
You can direct your refund to either a checking or savings account; you cannot opt for a direct deposit into a loan account.

If I use a tax professional to prepare my return, will it cost me more to split my refund?
Tax preparation fees could vary. Ask your tax professional about his/her fees up front.

Can I direct part of my refund into my tax professional’s checking or savings account to pay my tax preparation fee?
You can direct your refund to any of your checking or savings accounts; you cannot direct your refund to someone else’s account (except for your spouse’s account, if this is a joint refund).

What if I requested that part of my refund be used to buy U.S. Series I Savings Bonds and I make a mistake or part of my refund is offset?
If you’re requested part of your refund be used to buy U.S. Series I Savings Bonds and you make an error figuring your refund, the bond request is not a multiple of $50, or your refund is offset for any reason, the entire amount of your refund will be sent to you in the form of a check.

What if I make a mistake on my return that increases the amount of my refund?
If you split your refund among multiple accounts and the mistake results in a larger refund than you expected, IRS will add the difference to the last account you designated.

You will receive a letter from IRS explaining any errors resulting in adjustments to your return, refund amount, and direct deposit(s). IRS recommends using electronic filing to avoid math errors and other common problems that can result in adjustments to your return and change the amount of your refund.

What if I make a mistake on my return that decreases the amount of my refund?
If the mistake results in a smaller refund, IRS will use a bottom-up rule and deduct the difference from the amount you designated for the last account shown on Form 8888. If the difference exceeds the amount designated for the last account, IRS will deduct the remainder from the amount designated to the next account, etc.

IRS will apply this same bottom-up rule to adjust direct deposits for refund offsets for unpaid federal taxes or if the Earned Income Tax Credit portion of your refund is withheld pending further review. You will receive a letter from IRS explaining any errors resulting in adjustments to your return, your refund amount, and direct deposit(s).

IRS recommends using electronic filing to avoid math errors and other common problems that can result in adjustments to your return and change the amount of your refund.

What if I owe back taxes to IRS?
If you owe delinquent federal taxes, IRS will withhold the balance due from your refund and adjust your split refund direct deposits under the bottom-up rule discussed above. You will receive a letter from IRS explaining any adjustment(s) to your refund amount and direct deposit(s).

How will IRS handle my split refund deposits if the Earned Income Tax Credit portion of my refund is withheld pending further review?
IRS will deposit your refund, less the amount withheld according to the bottom-up rule — see What if I make a mistake on my return that decreases the amount of my refund?

You will receive a letter from IRS explaining why a portion of your refund was withheld, the effect on your direct deposit(s), and what information you need to provide to verify your EITC eligibility. If IRS later determines you are eligible to receive the credit, the agency will deposit the amount withheld into the first account you designated on Form 8888.

Are there other conditions that could reduce the amount of my refund and change the amount I want deposited to each account?
If you owe delinquent state income taxes, back child support, or delinquent non-tax federal debts such as student loans, etc., the Department of Treasury’s Financial Management Service, which disburses IRS refunds, may offset your refund for the delinquent amount.

FMS will deduct the past-due amounts from the payment that appears first on the payment file received from IRS (the IRS payment file orders accounts from the lowest to the highest routing number). If the debt exceeds the payment designated for the account that appears first on the payment file, FMS will reduce the payment designated for the account that appears next, etc.

You will receive a letter from FMS explaining any offset amount, the agency receiving the payment, the address and telephone number of the agency, and amount of your refund/direct deposit offset. If you dispute the debt, you should contact the agency shown on the notice, not IRS, since IRS has no information about the validity of the debt.

Information about refund offsets is available through Where’s My Refund?

What will happen if I owe both back taxes to IRS and back child support, state taxes, student loans, etc?
If you owe delinquent federal taxes, IRS will withhold the balance due from your refund and adjust your split refund direct deposits under the bottom-up rule discussed earlier (see What if I make a mistake on my return that decreases the amount of my refund?)

If your refund exceeds the amount of your delinquent federal taxes, the Department of Treasury’s Financial Management Service will then deduct the amounts for any delinquent state income taxes, back child support, or delinquent non-tax federal debts such as student loans, etc., from the payment that appears first on the payment file received from IRS (the IRS payment file orders accounts from the lowest to the highest routing number).  If the debt exceeds the payment designated for the account that appears first on the payment file, FMS will reduce the payment designated for the account that appears next, etc.

You will receive a letter explaining any adjustments IRS made to your refund amount and direct deposit(s). You will receive a separate letter from FMS explaining any offset amount, the agency receiving the payment, the address and telephone number of the agency, and amount of your refund/direct deposit that was offset. If you dispute the debt, you should contact the agency shown on the notice, not IRS, since IRS has no information about the validity of the debt.

Information about your refund offsets will also be available through Where’s My Refund? 

What will happen if I enter an incorrect routing or account number?
Be very careful entering your account and routing numbers. IRS will handle account or routing number errors on split refunds the same as for regular direct deposits and mistakes can result in several different scenarios. For example, if:

  • You omit a digit in the account or routing number of an account and the number does not pass IRS’ validation check, IRS will send you a paper check for the entire refund;
  • You incorrectly enter an account or routing number and your designated financial institution rejects and returns the deposit to IRS, IRS will issue a paper check for that portion of your refund; or
  • You incorrectly enter an account or routing number that belongs to someone else and your designated financial institution accepts the deposit, you must work directly with the respective financial institution to recover your funds.

IRS assumes no responsibility for taxpayer error. Please, verify your account and routing numbers with your financial institution and double check the accuracy of the numbers you enter on your return.

For more information, see Refund Inquiries.

How can I ensure my refund is deposited as I designate?
First, check with your financial institution to ensure they will accept a direct deposit for the type of account you are designating. Some financial institutions will accept direct deposits for some types of accounts, but not others.

Second, ensure you have the correct account and routing numbers for the account – ask your financial institution if you are unsure – and double check the accuracy of the numbers you enter on your tax return. An incorrect or transposed number could result in your financial institution rejecting the deposit, or worse, depositing your refund into someone else’s account.

Third, double check your return to ensure you have not made math or other errors that could increase or decrease the actual amount of your refund. IRS recommends electronic filing for the most error-free return.

What if I entered the correct account and routing numbers, but IRS made an error in depositing my refund?
IRS will correct any agency errors. Contact an IRS customer service representative by calling 1-800-829-1040.

If I split my refund, can I still use Where’s My Refund? to check my refund status?
Whether or not you split your refund, you can use the Where’s My Refund? feature available on IRS.gov or by calling 1-800-829-1954. Where’s My Refund? will include a message confirming that your refund was split. It will not specify the amount deposited into each account, but it will tell you the estimated date of the deposits and, if IRS adjusted the amount of your refund for math errors, etc., will tell you the amount of the adjustment.

If you buy U.S. Series I Bonds with all or part of your refund and the message from Where’s My Refund? explains that the IRS processed your refund and placed the order for your bonds, you can contact the Treasury Retail Securities site at 1 (800) 245-2804 to inquire about the status of your bonds.

I forgot a deduction on my original return and am filing an amended return for an additional refund. Can I split this additional refund?
You cannot split a refund on an amended return. At this time, IRS does not offer a direct deposit option for refunds on amended returns. IRS will mail you a check for the amount of your additional refund to the address shown on your amended return.

I’m requesting an extension of additional time to file my return. Can I still split my refund?
You can split your refund on any original return, even if you have an extension of time to file and do not file until October.

I am due a refund from a prior year but I have not filed my return yet. Can I choose to split my refund on this return?
No. You cannot elect to split your tax refund on a prior year original tax return. Refunds from a prior year return cannot be directly deposited.

How to Direct Deposit Your Tax Refund from IRS

Direct Deposit: The Best and Fastest Way to Get Your Refund

The best and fastest way to get your tax refund is to have it electronically deposited for free into your financial account. The IRS program is called direct deposit. You can use it to deposit your refund into one, two or even three accounts.

 

Getting a Tax Refund via Direct Deposit

Eight out of 10 taxpayers get their refunds by using Direct Deposit. It is simple, safe and secure. This is the same electronic transfer system used to deposit nearly 98 percent of all Social Security and Veterans Affairs benefits into millions  accounts.

 

Where is my IRS Tax Refund?

When taxpayers combine direct deposit and IRS e-file to transmit their tax returns, the vast majority will receive their refunds in 21 days or less. (You can track your refund using our Where’s My Refund? tool.)

Direct deposit is easy to use. Just select it as your refund method through your tax software and type in the account number and routing number. Or, tell your tax preparer you want direct deposit. You can even use direct deposit if you are one of the few people still filing by paper. Be sure to double check your entry to avoid errors.

 

Direct Deposit is best way to deposit tax refund

Direct deposit also saves you money. It costs the nation’s taxpayers more than $1 for every paper refund check issued, but only a dime for each direct deposit made.

The federal tax refund is often the largest single check many people receive. It’s an opportune time to start or add to your savings. You can divide your refund into two or three additional financial accounts, including your Individual Retirement Account, or purchase up to $5,000 in U.S. Series I Savings Bonds.

 

Form 8888 to Split Tax Refunds

Splitting your refund is easy.You can use your tax software to do it electronically. Or, use IRS’Form 8888, Allocation of Refund (including Savings Bond Purchases) if you file a paper return. Just follow the instructions on the form. If you want IRS to deposit your refund into just one account, use the direct deposit line on your tax form.

With split refunds, you have a convenient option for managing your money — sending some of your refund to an account for immediate use and some for future savings — teamed with the speed and safety of direct deposit.

 

Splitting Tax Refunds

Your refund should only be deposited directly into accounts that are in your own name; your spouse’s name or both if it’s a joint account. No more than three electronic refunds can be deposited into a single financial account or pre-paid debit card. Taxpayers who exceed the limit will receive an IRS notice and a paper refund. Whether you file electronically or on paper, direct deposit gives you access to your refund faster than a paper check. Direct deposit also avoids the possibility that your check could be lost or stolen or returned to IRS as undeliverable.

Form 843, IRS Claim for Refund and Request for Abatement

Form 843 should not be used by individuals to claim an income tax refund, or to request a reduction of income, estate or gift tax. Businesses should not use the form to request an abatement of employment taxes, such as FICA. If you are claiming a refund, Form 843 must be submitted no later than three years after the return was filed or two years after the taxes were paid, whichever is later. The IRS will only abate interest on a tax in certain limited circumstances that involve IRS delays or errors. If you are requesting an abatement of interest for this reason, you must write “Request for Abatement of Interest Under Section 6404(e)” at the top of Form 843.

 

What is IRS Form 843?

Individual taxpayers can use Form 843 to request, for example, a refund of Social Security or Medicare taxes withheld in excess or in error, or for penalties levied by the IRS in error. Taxpayers will continue to use Form 843 when requesting abatement of assessed penalties and interest. In addition, there is no “X” form for the Form 940, and taxpayer will continue to use a Form 940 for amended returns.

Who should not use IRS Form 843?

Do not use Form 843 to request a refund of income tax or Additional Medicare Tax. Employers cannot use Form 843 to request a refund of Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) tax, Railroad Retirement Tax Act (RRTA) tax, or income tax withholding. Also do not use Form 843 to amend a previously filed income or employment tax return. Do not use Form 843 to claim a refund of agreement fees, offer-in-compromise fees, or lien fees. In certain circumstances, you can have longer to pay or your agreement can be approved for an amount that is less than the amount of tax you owe.

 

When should you file Form 843?

If you are unable to receive a refund of these taxes from your employer, you may then file Form 843 and Form 8316 to request a refund from IRS. Include the following:

  • a completed Form 843
  • a completed Form 8316
  • a copy of your W-2
  • a copy of the visa page of your passport
  • a copy of Form I-94
  • a copy of your work authorization (A copy of your EAD authorizing OPT or Economic Hardship)
  • a copy of front and back of your Form I-20 or DS-2019 authorizing CPT
  • a written statement that you unsuccessfully requested a refund of these taxes from your employer. (This can be the statement you obtained from your employer, or your own statement that you were denied refund of these taxes by your employer and were unable to obtain a statement from them.)

 

IRS Interest on Taxes Owed

The IRS will only abate interest on a tax in certain limited circumstances that involve IRS delays or errors. If you are requesting an abatement of interest for this reason, you must write “Request for Abatement of Interest Under Section 6404(e)” at the top of Form 843. Complete all lines on the form, on which you will have to give the following information:

Generally, you must file a separate Form 843 for each tax period or fee year or type of tax or fee. There are exceptions for certain claims.

Who Files Form 843?

You can file Form 843 or your authorized representative can file it for you. If your authorized representative files Form 843, the original or copy of Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative, must be attached. You must sign Form 2848 and authorize the representative to act on your behalf for the purposes of the request.

You can request a net interest rate of zero by writing on top of Form 843 “Request for Net Interest Rate of Zero under Rev. Proc. 2000-26.” You must provide documentation to substantiate that you are the taxpayer entitled to receive the interest due on the overpayment.

 

When not to File Form 843?

Form 843 is limited in the types of tax, interest, penalties, and fees that you can request to be abated. You also cannot use Form 843 for the following reasons:

  • For an employer to request a refund or abatement of FICA tax, Railroad Retirement Tax, or income tax withholding
  • To amend a previously filed income or employment tax return
  • To claim a refund of agreement fees, offer-in-compromise fees, or lien fees
  • To request an abatement of gift or estate taxes

There are also circumstances where you may not have to file Form 843, or where you may have to file a different form. If you receive a notice from the IRS, you should follow the instructions on the notice. You may not be required to file Form 843 in all circumstances.

 

Filing 1040X to Receive Tax Refund Instead of Form 843

Use Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, to change any amounts reported on Form 1040, 1040A, 1040EZ, 1040NR, or 1040NR-EZ, to change amounts previously adjusted by the IRS, or to make certain elections after the prescribed deadline (see Regulations sections 301.9100-1 through -3).

File only one Form 843 if the interest assessment resulted from the IRS’s error or delay in performing a single managerial or ministerial act affecting a tax assessment for multiple tax years or types of tax (for example, where 2 or more tax years were under examination). Check the applicable box(es) on line 3 and provide a detailed explanation on line 7.

2016 Tax Season Refund Frequently Asked Questions

2016 Tax Season Refund Frequently Asked Questions

 

How quickly will I get my refund?
We issue most refunds in less than 21 calendar days.

What is the best and fastest way to get information about my refund?
Use the IRS2Go mobile app or the Where’s My Refund? tool. You can start checking on the status of your tax return within 24 hours after we have received your e-filed return or 4 weeks after you mail a paper return.

Will I see a date for my refund right away?
Where’s My Refund? will not give you a refund date right away. We must first receive your tax return and then we have to process it and approve your refund. Where’s My Refund? will give you a personalized date once your refund is approved.

Will calling the IRS help me get my refund any faster?
Calling us will not speed up your refund. Our phone and walk-in representatives can only research the status of your refund if it has been 21 days or more since you filed electronically, more than 6 weeks since you mailed your paper return, or Where’s My Refund? directs you to contact us. If we need more information to process your tax return, we will contact you by mail. Otherwise Where’s My Refund? has the most up to date information available about your refund. Use the IRS2Gomobile app or use the Where’s My Refund? tool. Both are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

How will I know if IRS received my tax return and if my refund is being processed?
Use the Where’s My Refund? tool to follow your tax return from receipt to issuance of your refund. While your tax return is being processed you can follow it through three stages: Return Received,Refund Approved and Refund Sent.

When can I start checking on my refund status?
You can start checking on the status of your return within 24 hours after we have received your electronically filed tax return or 4 weeks after you mail a paper tax return.

How often does Where’s My Refund? update?
Where’s My Refund? updates are made no more than once per day, usually at night. So there is no need to check more often.

What is happening when Where’s My Refund? shows the status of my refund is: Return Received?
This means we have your tax return and are processing it. Your personalized refund date will be available as soon as we finish processing your return and confirm that your refund has been approved. We issue most refunds in less than 21 days.

How long will it take for my status to change from Return Received to Refund Approved?
Sometimes your status may change from “Return Received” to “Refund Approved” in just a few days, but it could take longer and a date will not be provided until your refund has been approved. However, if Where’s My Refund? shows the status of your refund is: Return Received we have received your tax return and we are processing it.

Does Where’s My Refund? always display my refund status with the tracker showing three steps?
No. In some cases the tracker graphic will not be shown if your return is being reviewed prior to step two: “Refund Approved,” and instead an explanation or instructions will be provided depending on the situation. This can happen even if you previously checked Where’s My Refund? and it showed the status as “Return Received” along with the tracker. In these cases be assured that we have your tax return and we are processing it. Please follow the directions provided by Where’s My Refund? . Otherwise if we need more information we will contact you – usually by mail. If we send you a letter about your return, please follow the instructions in the letter as soon as possible.

Will ordering a transcript help you determine when you’ll get your refund?
No, a tax transcript will not help you determine when you will get your refund. This is among the common myths and misconceptions that are often repeated in social media. The codes listed on tax transcripts do not provide any early insight into when a refund will be issued. The best way to check on your refund is by visiting Where’s My Refund? While transcripts include a lot of detailed information regarding actions taken on your account, the codes do not mean the same thing for everyone and they do not necessarily reflect how any of these actions do or do not impact the amount or timing of your refund. IRS transcripts are best and most often used to validate past income and tax filing status for mortgage, student and small business loan applications and to help with tax preparation.

What is happening when Where’s My Refund? shows the status of my refund is: Refund Approved?
This means the IRS has processed your return and your refund has been approved. The IRS is now preparing to send your refund to your bank or directly to you in the mail if you requested a paper check. This status will tell you when your refund is scheduled to be sent to your bank and, if you elected the direct deposit option, a date by which it should be credited to your account. Please wait until it’s been five days from the date we sent the refund to your bank to check with your bank about the status of your refund. This time frame is provided to allow for the variations in how and when banks deposit funds.

What is happening when Where’s My Refund? shows the status of my tax return is:Refund Sent?
This means the IRS has sent your refund to your financial institution for direct deposit. This status will tell you when your refund was sent to your bank. It may take your financial institution 1 – 5 days to deposit the funds into your account. Please wait until it’s been five days from the date we sent the refund to your bank to check with your bank about the status of your refund. This time frame is provided to allow for the variations in how and when banks deposit funds. If you requested a paper check this means your check has been mailed. It could take several weeks for your check to arrive in the mail.

Why is my refund different than the amount reflected on the tax return I filed?
If you owe past-due federal tax, state income tax, state unemployment compensation debts, child support, spousal support, or certain federal nontax debts, such as student loans, all or part of your refund may be used (offset) to pay the past-due amount. Offsets for federal taxes are made by the IRS. All other offsets are made by the Treasury Department’s Bureau of Fiscal Services (BFS). For federal tax offsets, you will receive a notice from the IRS. For all other offsets, you will receive a notice from BFS. To find out if you may have an offset or if you have any questions about it, contact the agency to which you owe the debt. See Tax Topic 203 for more information about refund offsets.

Another reason your refund amount may be different is if we made changes to your tax return that changed your refund amount. In this case you will get a notice in the mail from us explaining the changes. These reasons will be reflected in Where’s My Refund if they apply to your refund..

What should I do if I know for sure the refund I receive is not from my tax account?
Do not cash a refund check or spend the direct deposit if you know it isn’t your refund. Bring or send it back uncashed to avoid a penalty.  See Tax Topic 161 – Returning an Erroneous Refund – Paper Check or Direct Deposit for instructions.

What if I am counting on my refund for something important? Can I expect to receive it on time?
Be careful not to count on getting your refund by a certain date to make major purchases or pay other financial obligations. Many different factors can affect the timing of your refund after we receive it for processing. Even though we issue most refunds in less than 21 days, it’s possible your tax return may require additional review and take longer. Also, if you are anticipating a refund, take into consideration the time it takes for your financial institution to post the refund to your account, or for mail delivery.

It’s been longer than 21 days since the IRS received my return and I have not gotten my refund. Why?
We work hard to issue refunds as quickly as possible, but some tax returns take longer to process than others for many reasons, including when a return:

  • includes errors,
  • is incomplete,
  • needs further review,
  • is impacted by identity theft or fraud,
  • includes Form 8379, Injured Spouse Allocation, which could take up to 14 weeks to process.

If we need more information to process your tax return, we will contact you by mail.

IRS representatives can only research the status of your return if it’s been 21 days or more since you filed electronically, more than six weeks since you mailed your paper return, or if Where’s My Refund? directs you to contact us. Our general telephone number is 1-800-829-1040. However, given our limited resources, our phone lines are going to be extremely busy this year – and there will frequently be extensive wait times.

My return included a request for a refund of tax withheld on a Form 1042-S, Foreign Person’s U.S. Source Income Subject to Withholding. When can I expect my refund?
If you requested a refund of tax withheld on a Form 1042-S Foreign Person’s U.S. Source Income Subject to Withholding by filing a Form 1040NR U.S. Nonresident Alien Income Tax Return, we will need additional time to process the return. Please allow up to 6 months from the original due date of the 1040NR return or the date you actually filed the 1040NR, whichever is later to receive any refund due.

What information is available on Where’s My Refund?
Information on Where’s My Refund? is for the most recent tax year we have on file for you. You can check on the status of your refund 24 hours after you e-file. If you filed a paper return, please allow 4 weeks before checking on the status.

Will Where’s My Refund? provide a refund status if I filed an amended return?
No, it does not provide information about amended tax returns. However you can check the status of your Form 1040X (PDF), Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, using the“Where’s My Amended Return?” (WMAR) online tool and the toll-free telephone line 866-464-2050 three weeks after you file your amended return. Where’s My Amended Return? provides personalized, automated, and the most up-to-date information on the status of amended returns in both English and Spanish. You can check the status of a Form 1040X filed for the current year and up to three years prior.

I requested a direct deposit refund and it is now being mailed as a paper check. Why?
Your refund should only be deposited directly into accounts that are in your own name, your spouse’s name or both, if it’s a joint account. These are some of the reasons a financial institution may reject a direct deposit, resulting in a paper check. Also, no more than three electronic refunds can be directly deposited into a single financial account or pre-paid debit card. Taxpayers who exceed the limit will receive an IRS notice and a paper refund.