What Happens if You Put the Wrong Account Number on Your Tax Return?

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Filing a tax return with the wrong bank account information is a problem you need to address as soon as you discover it. If you are expecting a direct-deposit refund, it will be delayed or may be deposited to the wrong account. If you are making an electronic payment with your tax return, it could cost you a tax penalty and interest on the amount due. Do not file an amended return to correct the error. There are faster ways to solve the problem.


Electronic Filing Rejection

If you e-file an electronic tax return and the bank account number you enter has the wrong number of digits in either the routing number or your account number, the e-filing will be rejected. This gives you a chance to correct the error before you file the tax return. If the routing number is incorrect and does not match your bank, it will also be flagged and you will get an an e-file rejection.

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Acceptance With the Wrong Account Number

If the routing number is correct and your bank account number has the right number of digits but is the wrong account number, the e-filed tax return will be accepted. If the account number matches another bank account, your refund may be deposited in that account, or the IRS will attempt to withdraw your payment from that account. The same problem applies if you mail your return.


The bank may catch the error and deny the deposit or withdrawal. If the account number does not match another account or if the bank denies the transaction, the IRS will send your refund as a paper check through the mail. If an electronic withdrawal is rejected, the IRS will contact you about the missing tax payment if you don't contact them first.

Correcting Your Bank Account Numbers

If you discover the problem soon after you electronically file or paper file your tax return, use one of the IRS hotlines to contact the service. Wait 72 hours after electronically filing or three weeks after mailing your return before attempting to correct the problem. If you contact them before your tax return is entered into the system, an agent will not be able to help you resolve the problem.


If your bank account number is incorrect and you are due a refund, call 1- 800–829–1954. The IRS will attempt to correct the error, but you may have to follow up with the bank if your refund was deposited into another bank account. If you were making an electronic tax payment, call 1-888-353-4537 to correct the error. You may still be assessed a penalty for late payment.

Receipt of CP161 Letter

If you owe taxes when you filed your return and the IRS is unable to withdraw the payment from your account, they will contact you with a CP161 letter. This is a standard IRS letter that will inform you that you have tax due and give you instructions on how to respond. You can send a check back with a copy of the notice to pay the amount due. The amount due will probably includes a penalty and interest.


You may request abatement of the penalty by sending a letter explaining why the tax payment is late along with a copy of the tax return page where you entered the incorrect account number. The abatement may be granted in some cases, but any interest due cannot be abated.