How to Change Your Routing Number on Your Taxes

by Leeland Bettis

Preparing taxes can be a difficult and detail-oriented exercise that can easily result in mistakes or errors if you don't take sufficient care in the process. Individuals preparing their own taxes without consulting a professional often make mistakes. Filing your tax returns electronically saves time but can result in errors, such as submitting the wrong routing number for your bank account. Fortunately, you can easily correct this mistake in most cases, although it can be a time-consuming process.

Verify the routing number error. When filing an electronic tax return you are required to provide the IRS with an ABA routing number for your financial institution in order receive refund payments or to pay any outstanding tax balance. The routing number is a nine-digit number assigned by the American Bankers Association. If you incorrectly entered this number, you will not receive an electronic refund payment nor will any payment from your account transfer to the IRS.

Call the IRS. Tax preparation company Liberty Tax advises tax filers to contact the IRS directly if there is an error in the routing number. Call 1-800-829-1040 (as of the date of this publication) and explain the error to an IRS representative. The IRS will make any necessary changes. This is the easiest and most thorough course of action for changing a routing number.

Wait two weeks for your tax refund. In addition to changing your routing number, you need to track down your errant refund. The IRS recommends waiting up to two weeks for a paper check to arrive by mail if you failed to receive an electronic payment. In the event that funds were sent to an incorrect account as a result of your routing number error, the financial institution will discover the error in a timely manner and return the funds to the IRS. The IRS will then send you a paper check for the entire amount of any refund you're owed.

File Form 3911 with the IRS. If you choose not to call the IRS to change your routing number and have still not received any refund check, the IRS recommends filing a Form 3911. Filing this form will not change your routing number, but it will inform the IRS of any missing refund payment related to a routing number error on your tax return.

Contact a professional tax preparer. If you choose not to call the IRS to resolve the issue and prefer not to file a Form 3911 with the IRS regarding a missing refund, contact a professional tax preparer. Explain your error to this person and he will help change your routing number and recover any tax refund the IRS owes you.

About the Author

Leeland Bettis has been writing about investment since 2005. As the former editor of an investment newsletter his work has appeared in Forbes.com, the Bloomberg Financial Network and other reputable news publications around the world. Bettis holds a Master of Arts in international relations from the National University of Singapore.

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