IRS Direct Deposit Timings, Payment Delays and Incorrect Bank Account For Tax Refund Deposits

Despite ongoing processing delays the IRS is continuing to process and pay tax refunds. However there are still a lot of folks seeing delays in getting their refund payment despite the Where is My Refund (WMR) IRS tool showing that the return has been approved (2 bars) and/or refund sent (3 bars)

If you have selected direct deposit the issue is likely not due to the IRS (which has completed processing) and more likely with the financial institution or the bank account information you provided. Keep in mind there are a lot of things can go wrong during the transition from the IRS to you. This includes:

How long does it normally take to get my refund via Direct Deposit?

The IRS estimates that most refunds should be processed within 21 days if there are no issues reconciling your tax return with the information the IRS has on record. You can see the IRS estimated refund schedule here.

Also remember to try and get your refund payment via Direct Deposit, which the IRS’s recommends as the fastest and most secure method. You can sign-up for free online banking services like Chime to get a bank account, where you can get your IRS refund directly deposited into as soon as the day it is approved.

Wrong Bank account information provided in your return

This will normally result in the bank rejecting the IRS deposit as account name and routing/account numbers won’t watch.

The refund payment will then be returned and unless you notify the IRS they will then proceed to send you a paper check. This entire process will likely delay your refund payment by several weeks.

So make sure you double check your bank account information and if using an accountant or tax preparer,  triple-check to ensure they have your correct bank routing & account number when they ask you to sign tax return.

Banks can deposit your refund in the wrong account

This happened to me on a recent deposit and I had someone else refund payment in my account one morning.

I contacted the credit union and they fixed it immediately. But it delay processing and I had to file a few forms to notify the IRS and I eventually got paid via a check in the mail about 12 weeks later.

IRS will send you a check after fourth direct deposit

Many tax payers are surprised to receive refund adjustments via check, even if they had selected direct deposit as their payment option.

But the reason for this, assuming your bank details are not incorrect, is due to the IRS’ procedures to combat fraud and identity theft. Under these procedures, a maximum of three refunds are allowed to be electronically deposited into a single financial account or pre-paid debit card.

The above measure will prevent unscrupulous tax preparers in depositing part or all of the client’s refunds into their own bank accounts as payment for their services or for refund advance loans.

Any additional refunds which refer to this account will automatically be converted to paper refund checks and mailed to the taxpayer. You will get a notice explaining this, if your refund is converted from direct deposit to check.

Your name is not listed or Different to Bank account

You can fix this before the banks send it back to the Treasury by calling them and notifying them you are expecting a refund; they will allow you to come to the bank and add the name to the account; or put it in the right account by your NAME instead of the ACCOUNT number.

IRS processing on weekends and holidays

Generally most banks don’t clear deposited refunds over the weekend or public holidays. Some do, but don’t expect this in all cases.

So if you don’t get your refund by a Friday, you may need to wait till the next business day, even though your IRS refund payment date may indicate a weekend or public holiday. See the reader example below around a PATH delayed refund payment.

I had a PATH act message that appeared Jan 27th I filed on the 26th. It stayed there until Feb. 15th when it was replaced by a generic message of “we have received your return and are processing it” no tax topic no bars etc.

Then the big update on Feb. 18th I checked WMR on irs.gov and had “refund approved” with 2 orange bars and a DDD of Feb 23rd. It also directed me to call if I didn’t receive my funds by Feb. 27th.

Remember guys that the 20th of Feb is a holiday (Presidents day) so banks are closed. Your deposit might be held an extra day or two because of this. 

Non-banking financial institutions and Pre-Paid cards

While most folks have traditional bank accounts to get their refund payments, lots of younger tax payers are using online bank accounts like Chime and Cash App to get paid.

Some are also getting their payments loaded on pre-paid direct debit cards – which provide a bank account and routing number to use with this IRS.

However all have varying processing schedules and fees. The best bet is to contact or check the website of these type of companies directly to get an idea of their processing cycles.

In some cases you may even get paid ahead of the IRS payment date!

How to Fix Issues With Bank Account Errors – IRS vs. Your Bank

Other than double or triple checking your bank account details before submitting your tax filing, you can contact the IRS toll-free at 800-829-1040 to update the payment information if the refund has not been processed.

However, if the refund has already been processed, you will have to receive a paper check in the mail. This process can take up to six to eight weeks and there is a risk of the check getting lost, stolen, or damaged during transit.

However, receiving a paper check, even with the wait and risk, is better than having your refund deposited into the wrong account.

You can try and submit a Form 3911, Taxpayer Statement Regarding Refund if the refund check you received was lost, stolen or destroyed. This allows the IRS to reach out to the banking institution on your behalf to find out where the money went and attempt to recover it.

Note – If you provided the wrong bank account details and your refund was successfully sent there, the IRS won’t be able to help much. You will need to work directly with the financial institution as discussed in the sections below.

Contacting the financial institution for refund recovery

You can also contact your bank, credit union or other financial institution if the IRS shows the refund as paid, but you have not gotten in your bank account after several days.

If you call a financial institution, you will need to explain your situation and justification which allows them to prepare a case to have the refund amount traced and potentially returned to you. Just be prepared to wait for a while and make several follow-up calls.

Several companies. have dedicated lines to help tax payers during tax season. You will need to verify your identify and provide proof (e.g. tax return), before the bank or provider can try and trace/recover your refund payment.

Bank processing times for refund payments

Based on the thousands of comments I see across various articles, here are some that talk about the speed of processing refunds at their respective financial institution. This is from current and past tax years.

Please use these comments as a guideline and call your institution directly to get specific details related to your account or situation.

  • ETrade- make available the funds right away. I have the 22nd as well and the holiday won’t hold mine up. I had [J.P. Morgan] Chase years ago and they where slow and put a hold on it for three days. Some banks hold funds for anything over $1,000

  • You may actually receive it earlier especially if your bank has the days earlier option. I bank through American Express and I’m supposed to get it 2 days earlier. Also check your banking options when it comes to direct deposits you may be able to get it up to 5 days early

  • Chime which is the bank TurboTax uses to direct deposit your refund if you have fees taken out, is no help either! UGH..I’ve filed with them for years and never had an issue and it didn’t matter what day it was, they still sent my DD to my bank but not this year apparently

  • I did my return through Tax Act, who partner with Republic Bank & Trust Company to allow filing (or refund advance fees) to be deducted from your refund (by 75 days of estimated refund date). I just got off the phone with the bank they use. I was told the IRS has confirmed my deposit amount with them. That even though Monday is a holiday..they are working till 8pm tonight [Friday] and mandated by the IRS to work Monday to release refunds to bank accounts once your fee has been taken. They do not hold your funds either.
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9 thoughts on “IRS Direct Deposit Timings, Payment Delays and Incorrect Bank Account For Tax Refund Deposits”

  1. Haven’t received tax return still. Sent it in April 2020. And its almost the end of the year. Almost time to file 2020 tax returns. Somethings really wrong with the government

    Reply
  2. Would like to know status of Stimulus check or will there be another Stimulus check or Coronavirus Ecomic relief payment in 2020

    Reply
  3. I have to file with a IP Pin but was still sent a letter asking to verify my identity. Why is that so? And will I still have to wait mine weeks like I was told for a refund? What’s the purpose of sending me a pin and still asking to verify my identity???

    Reply

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