Most state income tax refund checks expire six months after they're issued. If the bank won't honor your state refund check, you can request a new one through your state's Department of Revenue. You'll need to verify your identify and possibly have your spouse cosign if it was from a joint return. It may take several weeks or months to get a replacement check.
Talk with your bank and review your state policy to determine if the check has really expired. Some states, like Georgia, specifically state its refund checks expire 180 days after issuance. However, you still may be able to cash the check. Technically, banks are not required to cash checks more than six months old. Still, a bank may do so anyway if they believe the check is valid and the payer will cover it.
Contact the State
All 50 states will replace a stolen, lost or expired check, but the taxpayer has to make an official request. For example, Oregon requires taxpayers to complete and return an Unclaimed Check Request form from the Department of Revenue. Check the FAQ section of your state's Department of Revenue website to find the necessary forms and contact phone numbers.
The state won't process a replacement request until at least 15 days have passed since the original check was mailed. At that point, you'll need to complete and return the appropriate form from your state. You must certify that you are either the taxpayer owed the refund, a spouse of the taxpayer, or a legal representative with power of attorney. If the refund is from a joint return, both yourself and your spouse may need to sign for the replacement check.
It could take as little as two weeks or as long as three months for the state to respond and issue a new check. The check amount may not be the same as your original refund. That's because some states reserve the right to collect from your refund if you owe other taxes or debts to the state. The state usually won't pay any interest on the balance of the replacement check. If it's been more than a few years, the state may have turned the refund over to its unclaimed property division. Even then you can still claim it as long as the state's time period to claim unclaimed property hasn't expired.
- Georgia Department of Revenue: Replacement Check Request Form
- North Carolina Department of Revenue: FAQ About Individual Income Tax Refunds
- Oregon Department of Revenue: Unclaimed Check Request
- Biz Filings: State Map for Remitting Unclaimed Property
- Cost.org: The Best and Worst of State Unclaimed Property Laws