Tax Preparation Help  
FAQ 1 2006 Tax Year

IRS Procedures

What are the changes for this year?

For highlights of any tax changes for the current tax year please refer to the "What's New" section of the Form 1040 Instructions, the Form 1040A Instructions, or the Form 1040EZ Instructions. You may also refer to Publication 553, Highlights of the Current Year Tax Changes. Remember, this information is effective for the current the tax year.


Will IRS figure the amount of tax and credits for taxpayers?

If you choose, the IRS will figure your tax on Form 1040EZ (PDF), Form 1040A (PDF), or Form 1040 (PDF). Refer to Tax Topic 552, Tax and Credits Figured by IRS, for more information.


I'm concerned because my check for payment to the IRS has not been cashed yet. What should I do?

If it had been at least two weeks since the payment was sent to IRS, you can call (800) 829-1040 and ask an IRS representative if the payment has been credited to your account. If the payment has not been credited and your check has not cleared your financial institution, you may choose to place a stop-payment on the original check and send another payment.

Should I notify the IRS of my change of address?

If you moved, you need to notify the IRS of your new address. We can change our records so that any tax refunds due you or any other IRS communications will reach you in a timely manner. Refer to Tax Topic 157, Change of Address - How to Notify IRS, for additional information.


What should I do if I made a mistake on my federal return that I have already filed?

It depends on the type of mistake that was made. Many mathematical errors are caught in the processing of the tax return itself. If you did not attach a required schedule the service will contact you and ask for the missing information.

If you did not report all your income or did not claim a credit, you are entitled to file an amended or corrected return using Form 1040X (PDF), Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. Include copies of any schedules that have been changed or any Form W-2 (PDF) you did not include. The Form 1040X (PDF) should be submitted after you receive your refund or by the due date of the return, whichever, is earlier. Generally, to claim a refund, the Form 1040X (PDF) must be received within three years after the date you filed your original return or within two years after the date you paid the tax, whichever is later.


I received a refund that is more than I should have received because I've discovered I made a mistake on my return. I have not yet cashed this check. What should I do now?

Many mistakes are corrected in processing and a letter of explanation is mailed at the time the refund is issued. If the mistake was not corrected in processing, you need to file an amended or corrected return using Form 1040X (PDF), Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, as soon as possible. Include copies of any schedules that have been changed or any Form W-2 (PDF) you did not include. If you return the refund check with a letter of explanation, a refund in the correct amount will be issued when the amended return processes.


How do I fill out the amended return Form 1040X?

Form 1040X (PDF), Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, is designed with three columns. Column A is used to show the figures from the original return. However, if you previously amended that return or it was changed by the IRS, enter the adjusted amounts. Column C is used to show the correct figures. The difference between the figures in Columns A and C is shown in Column B. On the back of the form you need to explain the specific changes being made on the return and the reason for each change. If the changes involve another schedule or form, attach it to Form 1040X (PDF). Be sure to enter the year of the return you are amending at the top of the form as required.


Can you send an amended tax return electronically?

No, an amended return must be filed on a paper Form 1040X (PDF), Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, and mailed to your servicing center for processing. You may submit the form after the IRS processes your original return.


How can I correct a mistake on my federal e-file return?

Once accepted, you must allow the e-file return to process before making any changes. You cannot correct a mistake on a federal return which was filed electronically. You need to file an amended or corrected return using Form 1040X (PDF), Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, as soon as possible. Include copies of any schedules that have been changed or any Form W-2 (PDF) you did not include. The Form 1040X (PDF) is a paper form.


How can I check the status of my amended return?

You will need to contact our assistance line at (800) 829-1040 to receive information on the processing of your amended return. Amended/corrected returns are processed as quickly as possible. However, it could take 8 to 12 weeks to process an amended return.


If I call the automated tax line or access "Where's my Refund" to check the status of a refund on an amended return, do I enter the total amount of my original refund, or only the amended amount?

You cannot check the status of a refund for an amended return on the automated tax line or by accessing "Where's my Refund". Amended/corrected returns are processed as quickly as possible. However, it may take 8 to 12 weeks or longer to process the return. If 8 weeks have elapsed and you have not received your refund, call (800) 829-1040.


How would I obtain a private letter ruling?

The procedure for obtaining a letter ruling are published annually in the first revenue procedure of each calendar year. The current procedures are in Internal Revenue Bulletin 2007-01, which can be found in Internal Revenue Bulletin 2007-1. The Revenue Procedure and the Internal Revenue Bulletin can be downloaded from the electronic reading room on the IRS Freedom of Information website.

A request for a letter ruling including the applicable user fee, should be submitted to:

Ruling Request Submission
Internal Revenue Service
Attn: CC: PA:LPD:DRU
P.O. Box 7604
Ben Franklin Station
Washington, DC 20044

I am unable to pay my delinquent taxes. Will the IRS accept an Offer in Compromise?

You may qualify for an Offer in Compromise if you are unable to pay your taxes in full or if you are facing severe or unusual economic hardship. Refer to Tax Topic 204, Offers in Compromise, for additional information.


Is there any special assistance available on unresolved tax matters which are creating a hardship?

If you are suffering, or about to suffer a significant hardship because of the way Internal Revenue laws are being carried out, you may ask for special help from the IRS' Taxpayer Advocate Program. The Taxpayer Advocate represents your interests and concerns within the IRS by protecting your rights and resolving problems that have not been fixed through normal channels. You can reach that office by dialing (877) 777-4778.


Can I make installment payments on the amount I owe?

Yes. If you cannot pay the full amount due as shown on your return, you can ask to make monthly installment payments. However, you will be charged a one time user fee of $43.00, as well as interest on any tax not paid by its due date, and you can be charged a late payment penalty unless you can show reasonable cause for not paying the tax by the due date (April 16, 2007 for individual income tax returns) even if your request to pay in installments is granted. Before requesting an installment agreement, you should consider less costly alternatives such as a bank loan.

To request an installment agreement send Form 9465 (PDF), Installment Agreement Request, with your return or call (800) 829-1040. You should receive a response within 30 days. For more details on installment payments, refer to Tax Topic 202, What to do if You Can't Pay Your Tax, or Publication 594 (PDF), Understanding the Collection Process.


What kind of penalties and interest will I be charged for paying and filing my taxes late?

Interest, compounded daily, is charged on any unpaid tax from the due date of the return until the date of payment. The interest rate is the federal short-term rate plus 3 percent. That rate is determined every three months.

For current interest rates, go to News Releases and Fact Sheets and find the most recent Internal Revenue release entitled Quarterly Interest Rates.

In addition, if you filed on time but didn't pay on time, you'll generally have to pay a late payment penalty of one-half of one percent of the tax owed for each month, or part of a month, that the tax remains unpaid after the due date, not exceeding 25 percent. However, you will not have to pay the penalty if you can show reasonable cause for the failure. The one-half of one percent rate increases to one percent if the tax remains unpaid after several bills have been sent to you and the IRS issues a notice of intent to levy.

Beginning January 1, 2000, if you filed a timely return and are paying your tax pursuant to an installment agreement, the penalty is one-quarter of one percent for each month, or part of a month, that the installment agreement is in effect.

If you did not file on time and owe tax, you may owe an additional penalty for failure to file unless you can show reasonable cause. The combined penalty is 5 percent (4.5% late filing, 0.5% late payment) for each month, or part of a month, that your return was late, up to 25%. The late filing penalty applies to the net amount due, which is the tax shown on your return and any additional tax found to be due, as reduced by any credits for withholding and estimated tax and any timely payments made with the return. After five months, if you still have not paid, the 0.5% failure-to-pay penalty continues to run, up to 25%, until the tax is paid. Thus, the total penalty for failure to file and pay can be 47.5% (22.5% late filing, 25% late payment) of the tax owed. Also, if your return was over 60 days late, the minimum failure-to-file penalty is the smaller of $100 or 100% of the tax required to be shown on the return.

Also, refer to Tax Topic 653, IRS Notices and Bills and Penalty and Interest Charges.


How do I request a copy of my tax return for last year?

If you need an exact copy of a previously filed and processed return and all attachments (including Form W-2 (PDF)), you must complete Form 4506 (PDF), Request for Copy of Tax Return and mail it to the IRS address in the instructions along with a $39 fee for each tax year requested. Copies are generally available for returns filed in the current and past 6 years.

In cases where an exact copy of the return is not needed, tax return and transcripts may be ordered. The tax return transcript shows most line items contained on the return as it was originally filed, including any accompanying forms and schedules. In most cases, a tax return transcript will meet the requirements for lending institutions for mortgage verification purposes.

The transcript can be ordered by completing a Form 4506-T (PDF) or calling (800) 829-1040 and following the prompts in the recorded message. There is no charge for the transcript and you should receive it in 10 business days from the time we receive your request. Tax return transcripts are generally available for the current and past three years. If you need a statement of your tax account which shows changes that you or the IRS made after the original return was filed, you must request a "Tax Account Transcript". This transcript shows basic data including marital status, type of return filed, adjusted gross income, taxable income, payments and adjustments made on your account. Tax return and account transcripts are generally available for the current and past 3 years.

Form 4506-T (PDF) can also be used to get proof from the IRS that you did not file a tax return for a particular tax year.

Forms can be downloaded at IRS-Forms or ordered by calling (800) 829-3676.


Can I get copies of my prior year Forms W-2 from the IRS?

The quickest way to obtain a copy of a prior year Form W-2 (PDF) is through your employer. If that is not possible, you can order and pay for copies of your entire return (attachments include Form W-2 (PDF)) from IRS, or order Form W-2 (PDF) information at no charge from the IRS. The IRS can provide Form W-2 (PDF) information for up to 10 years. Information for the current year is generally not available until the year after it is filed with the IRS. For example, Form W-2 (PDF) information for 2005, filed in 2006, will not be available from IRS until 2007.

To receive a copy of your return or transcript, complete and mail Form 4506 (PDF), Request for Copy of Tax Return or Form 4506-T (PDF) Request for Transcript of Tax Return. You should allow 60 calendar days for a response.


I am filing my U.S. tax return from the U.K. and am eligible for the automatic 2-month extension. Do my forms need to be in Philadelphia by June 15th, or do they just need to be postmarked by June 15th?

Your return must be postmarked by June 15th.


How do I obtain forms (including prior year) and publications not available on your site?

By phone: Call (800) 829-3676 (available M-F 7:00 am - 10:00 pm).

How can I collect child support from my ex-spouse?

You must contact your Office of Child Support Enforcement.


My ex-spouse is delinquent in paying child support. The attorney general has filed some sort of paperwork with the IRS to withhold their tax refund. When and how will I receive this money?

The answer varies depending on the state that is involved. You need to contact the state involved by linking to its page on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children & Families Offices of Child Support Enforcement web site to get this information.


Is there any way to find out if I need to file an injured spouse claim before I file a return?

Your spouse can ask the agency that might be claiming the refund for a past-due debt. Another source of information is the Financial Management Service Help Desk at (800) 304-3107.


Can I file my return electronically even though I am filing a Form 8379, Injured Spouse Claim and Allocation?

Yes, you can file electronically.


If I go to the Social Security Administration office to change my name, how long does it take the IRS to update its records?

IRS records are generally updated 10 days after the records at the Social Security Administration are changed.


How can I correct the spelling of my name with IRS?

The name on the refund check is spelled the way it appears on your tax return. If the address label you receive is spelled wrong, do not use the label. Instead, print the information on the tax return. You can also call (800) 829-1040 and we can change the spelling of your name over the phone.

Do I need to change my maiden name to my married name on my social security card for us to file jointly?

You can still file Married Filing Jointly without changing your name with the Social Security Administration. However, you do need to show your maiden name on the tax return instead of your married name.

I got married and I have not changed the name on my social security card to my married name. My Form W-2 is in my married name but my tax forms came in my maiden name. Should I file with my maiden name or married name?

It is important that the name the Social Security Administration (SSA) has in its system for your social security number agrees with the name on your tax return. You have a choice. You can file with your maiden name and contact the Social Security Administration after you file your return. Or, if you have enough time before the due date of your return, you can contact the Social Security Administration and have your records changed. Please wait 10 days to file your tax return.

To change the name shown on your social security card, you need to complete Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card. You can obtain Form SS-5 Form SS-5 by calling SSA at 1-800-772-1213 or visiting your local SSA office. Note: Form SS-5 is filed with SSA.

The Social Security Administration will issue you a new security card reflecting your married name and automatically send an update to us.


I received a letter from the IRS indicating that due to my misprint of my daughter's social security number, the exemption was rejected. Can I make the correction and still receive the exemption?

You are entitled to the exemption if your child qualifies as your dependent. To correct the return, you must provide the correct social security number information for your daughter. You can return it with a copy of the IRS letter in the envelope provided or contact the phone number listed in the upper right-hand corner of the letter for assistance.

How long does it take after you've filed to receive a refund?

Processing timer a refund return depends on the method used for filing. If you e-file opting for direct deposit and have not received your refund within 3 weeks after filing your return (eight weeks if you filed a paper return opting for a paper check), you can check your refund status by clicking on "Where's My Refund" then go to "Get My Refund Status" (after inputting the required data). Or, you can call the Refund Hotline at (800) 829-1954. Be sure to have available a copy of your current tax return because you will need to know your social security number shown on your return, the filing status and the exact whole dollar amount of your refund. If you have requested direct deposit, the refund should take one week less time to be issued as opposed to getting a paper check.

How can I check on the status of my refund?

Refund information does not become available until it has been 6 weeks since you filed your tax return (3 weeks if you filed electronically). After waiting the appropriate number of weeks, the fastest, easiest way to find out about your current year refund is to log onto www.irs.gov. Click on Where's My Refund then go to Get My Refund Status or you can call Refund Hotline at (800) 829-1954. Be sure to have a copy of your current tax return available because you will need to know your social security number shown on your return, the filing status and the exact whole dollar amount of our refund. The IRS updates refund information every seven days. Refer to Tax Topic 152, Refunds - How Long They Should Take, for additional information.


Can my refund be used to pay other debts?

Under the law, state and Federal agencies refer to the IRS the names of taxpayers who are behind in their support payments, taxes, and loans. Your tax refund may not be refunded to you if you are delinquent in child or child and spousal support payments, have a past due Federal debt (such as a student loan), or owe state income taxes. Therefore, your refund will be used to pay other debts you owe. For additional information, refer to Tax Topic 203, Failure to Pay Child Support and Other Federal Obligations.


Can a person receive a tax refund if they are currently in a payment plan for prior year's federal taxes?

As a condition of your agreement, any refund due you in a future year will be applied against the amount you owe. Therefore, you may not get all of your refund if you owe certain past-due amounts, such as federal tax, state tax, a student loan, or child support. The IRS will automatically apply the refund to the taxes owed. If the refund does not take care of the tax debt; you must continue the installment agreement.

I lost my refund check. How do I get a new one?

Call the IRS at (800) 829-1954. If your refund check has not been cashed, we can normally provide a replacement within six to eight weeks. You may need to complete a Form 3911 (PDF) Taxpayer Statement Regarding Refund, to initiate a claim. If your refund check has been cashed the Financial Management Service (FMS) will provide a claim package which includes a copy of the check. FMS will review the claim and the signature on the cancelled check before determining whether another refund can be issued.

Is it possible to find out if a federal tax refund check has been cashed?

If you need to know whether a federal tax refund check that was issued to you has been cashed, you can call (800) 829-1954 and request Form 3911 (PDF), Taxpayer Statement Regarding Refund.

If you are inquiring about a check that was issued to someone other than yourself, the IRS is not allowed under the Privacy Act of 1974 to disclose any information.


What is a split refund

A split refund lets you divide your refund, in any proportion you want, and direct deposit the funds in up to three different accounts with U. S. financial institutions.

What are the benefits of splitting my refund?

Instead of choosing between depositing your refund into a checking or saving 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 refund?

Simply complete and attach Form 8888, Direct Deposit of Refund to More Than One Account, 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?

Yes, you can ask IRS to direct deposit your 2006 refund into one account, or split it among 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, use Form 8888, Direct Deposit of Refund to More Than One Account.

Does my refund have to exceed a certain amount to split it into different accounts?

Your deposit to each account must be at least $1.00.

If I want to split my refund among different accounts, can those accounts be with different financial institutions?

Yes, 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.

Must I file electronically to split my refund?

No, 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.

Can I split my refund if I file a 1040-EZ?

Yes, you can split your refund on an original return filed on any of the following returns: Form 1040, 1040A, 1040EZ, 1040NR, 1040NR-EZ, 1040-SS, or 1040-PR. However, you cannot split your refund if you file Form 1040EZ-T, Request for Refund of Federal Telephone Excise Tax, or Form 8379, Injured Spouse Allocation.

Will splitting my refund cause a delay in depositing my refund?

No, splitting your refund will not cause a delay. 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 paper check?

No, you cannot split your refund between a direct deposit and paper check. You can either opt for the safety, security and speed of direct deposit to one, two, or three separate accounts or request your refund via a paper check.

Can I split my refund if I have only two accounts?

Yes, 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 Direct Deposit of Refund to More Than One Account, to split your refund among two or three different accounts.

Must I split my refund equally?

No, you have the flexibility of dividing and directing your refund any way you want. There is no requirement to make the deposits equal.

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 checking or saving 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.

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 (IDAs), individual retirement arrangements (IRAs), health savings accounts (HSAs), 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.

Can I direct part or all of my refund to my prior year individual retirement account (IRA)?

You should ensure your financial institution accepts 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 2007.

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 Are there conditions that could change the amount of my direct deposits?) you must verify the deposit was actually made to the account by the due date of the return (without regard to extensions) and the deposit amount. If the deposit is not made into your account by the due date of the return (without regard to extensions), the deposit is a contribution for 2007, rather than 2006. You must file an amended 2006 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?

No, 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?

No, 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 direct your refund to someone el's account (except for your spouse's account, if this is a joint refund).

Are there conditions that could change the amount of my direct deposits?

There are several factors that could change the amount of your tax refund - resulting in either a larger or smaller refund than expected. Examples that could increase your refund are math errors and other mistakes. Examples that could decrease your refund include math errors, mistakes, owing delinquent federal taxes, state taxes, child support, student loans, or other delinquent federal obligations or if the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) portion of your refund is withheld pending further review.

For additional information, see - What if a mistake on my return increases the amount of my refund?, What if I owe back taxes to IRS?, How will IRS handle my split refund deposits if the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) portion of my refund is withheld pending further review? Are there other conditions that could reduce the amount of my refund and change the amount I want deposited to each account? and What will happen if I owe both back taxes to IRS and back child support, state taxes, student loans, etc?

What if a mistake on my return 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.

Example: Your return shows a refund of $300 and you ask IRS to split the refund among three accounts, depositing $100 to each account. Due to an error, your refund is increased by $150. IRS will adjust your direct deposits as follows

Requested : Account 1: $100 Actual direct deposits $100

Requested: Account 2: $100 Actual direct deposits $100

Requested: Account 3: $100 Actual direct deposits $250 ($100 requested plus $150 adjustment)

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 a mistake on my return 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 fro the last account shown on Form 8888. If the difference exceeds the amount designated fro the last account, IRS will deduct the remainder from the amount designated fro the last account, IRS will deduct the remainder from the amount designated to the next account, etc.

Example: Your return shows a refund of $300 and you ask IRS to split your refund among three accounts with $100 to each account. Due to an error, your refund is decreased by $150. IRS will adjust your direct deposits as follows:

Requested: Account 1: $100 Actual direct deposits: $100

Requested: Account 2: $100 Actual direct deposits: $50 ($100 requested less $50 adjustment)

Requested: Account 3: $100 Actual direct deposits: $0 ($100 requested less $100 adjustment)

IRS will apply same bottom-up rule to adjust direct deposits for refund offset for unpaid federal taxes or if the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) portion of 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 taxes?

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 (see What if a mistake on my return decreases the amount of my refund?)

  • 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 (EITC) 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 a mistake on my return 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 debs such as student loans, etc., the Department of Treasury's Financial Management Service (FMS), 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 throughWhere's My Refund?

What will happen if I own 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. If your refund exceeds the amount of your delinquent federal taxes, IRS will adjust your split refund direct deposits under the bottom-up rule discussed earlier (see What if a mistake on my return decreases the amount of my refund?)

If you also 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 (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 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 on the letter you receive from FMS, 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.

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, I still use Where's My Refund? to check my refund status ?

Yes, you can check the status of a split refund using the Where My Refund? feature available on IRS.gov or by calling IRS' Refund Hotline at 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.

I forgot a deduction on my original return and am filing an amended return for an additional refund. Can I split this additional refund?

No, 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 2006 return. Can I still split my refund?

Yes, you can split your refund on any original return, even if you have an extension of time to file your 2006 return.

I have not filed my 2005 return yet. Can I also split my 2005 refund?

No refund splitting is not available for tax years before 2006. You can opt to direct deposit your 2005 refund into either your checking or saving account, but you cannot split this refund among two or three accounts.

What can I do if I think someone has filed a tax return using my social security number?

The IRS has security measures in place to verify the accuracy of tax returns and the validity of social security numbers submitted. However, if you receive a notice from IRS that leads you to believe someone may have used your social security number fraudulently, please notify IRS immediately by responding to the name and number printed on the notice or letter.

You can contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Identity Theft Hotline at (877) 438-4338 if you suspect someone else is using your social security number, or to secure information on how to prevent identity theft.


My husband passed away last year, and I will be filing a joint return. Are any special return notations required to indicate my husband is deceased?

If you are a surviving spouse filing a joint return and no personal representative has been appointed, you should sign the return and write in the signature area, "filing as surviving spouse." The final return should have the word "Deceased," the decedent's name, and the date of death written across the top of the return. For additional information, refer to Tax Topic 356, Decedents.


May an employer provide me my Form W-2 electronically?

Yes, an employer may furnish your Form W-2 (PDF) electronically provided certain criteria are met. You must affirmatively consent to receive the Form W-2 (PDF) in an electronic format and prior to, or at the time of, your consent, your employer must provide you a disclosure statement containing specific disclosures. Additionally, the electronic version of the Form W-2 (PDF) must contain all required information and comply with applicable revenue procedures relating to substitute statements to recipients. If the statement is furnished on a Web site, then your employer must notify you, via mail, electronic mail, or in person, that the statement is posted on a Web site and provide instructions on accessing and printing the statement.


I didn't get my W-2 by January 31, so I asked my employer for it, but I still don't have it. What should I do?

If you don't receive your Form W-2 (PDF) by February 15, contact the IRS for assistance at (800) 829-1040. Also, you may want to refer to Tax Topic 154, Form W-2 - What To Do if Not Received, to see the specific information the IRS will need in order to prepare a Form 4598, Form W-2, 1098 or 1099 Nor Received, Incorrect, or Lost. You will be sent a copy of Form 4598 along with a Form 4852, Substitute for Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, or Form 1099R, Distributions from Pensions, Annuities, Retirement or Profit Sharing Plans, IRAs, Insurance Contract, etc.


I have already filed my return and now I have received another Form W-2. What can I do?

If you find that you have done any of the following, you should file an amended return 1) you did not report some income; 2) you claimed deductions or credits you should not have claimed; 3) you failed to claim some deductions or credits you are entitled to; or 4) you used an incorrect filing status. The form you use to correct the Form 1040 (PDF), Form 1040A (PDF), or Form 1040EZ (PDF), you already filed is Form 1040X (PDF), Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. Please refer to Tax Topic 308, Amended Returns, for additional information.


I received an incorrect W-2 form. I can't get my former employer to issue a corrected W-2? What should I do?

If your attempts to have an incorrect Form W-2 (PDF) corrected by your employer are unsuccessful and it is after February 15th, contact the IRS at (800) 829-1040. An IRS representative can initiate a Form W-2 (PDF) complaint. Form 4598, Form W-2 or 1099 Not Received or Incorrect, will be sent to the employer and a copy will be sent to you along with Form 4852 (PDF), Substitute for Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, or Form 1099-R, Distributions from Pensions, Annuities, Retirement or Profit-Sharing Plans, IRAs, Insurance Contracts, etc. The copy that the employer receives will advise him or her of the employer's responsibilities to provide a correct Form W-2 (PDF) and of the penalties for failure to do so. When you call the IRS or visit an IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center (TAC), please have the following information available:

  • Your employer's name and complete address, including zip code, employer identification number (if known - see prior year's Form W-2 (PDF) if you worked for the same employer), and telephone number,
  • Your name, address, including zip code, social security number, and telephone number; and
  • An estimate of the wages you earned, the federal income tax withheld, and the period you worked for that employer. The estimate should be based on year-to-date information from your final pay stub or leave-and-earnings statement, if possible.

If you file your return and attach Form 4852 (PDF) to support the withholding amount claimed instead of a Form W-2 (PDF), your refund can be delayed while the information you gave us is verified.

If you receive a Form W-2 (PDF) after you file your return and it does not agree with the income or withheld tax you reported on your return, file an amended return on Form 1040X (PDF), Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return.


As a full-time student, am I exempt from federal taxes?

Every U.S. citizen or resident must file a U.S. income tax return if certain income levels are reached. There is no exemption from tax for full-time students. Factors that determine whether you have an income tax filing requirement include:

  • The amount of your income (earned and unearned),
  • Whether you are able to be claimed as a dependent,
  • Your filing status, and
  • Your age.
If your income is below the filing requirement for your age, filing status, and dependency status, you will not owe income tax on the income and will not have to file a tax return. You may choose to file if you have income tax withholding that you would like refunded to you. For more information on filing requirements refer to Publication 501, Exemption, Standard Deduction and Filing Information.

You may have given your employer a Form W-4 (PDF), Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate, claiming exemption from withholding. To claim exemption from withholding, you generally would have to have had no tax liability the previous year and expect none in the current year. An exemption certificate is good for the calendar year.

For related topics see Tax Information for Students .


What can be done if an employer will not withhold income taxes, social security, and Medicare from my pay?

Generally, if an employer does not withhold income taxes, social security, and Medicare from your pay, you are being treated as an independent contractor (self-employed person). If you believe an employee relationship exists and you cannot resolve this matter with your employer, you should submit a Form SS-8 (PDF), Determination of Employee Work Status for Purposes of Federal Employment Taxes and Income Tax Withholding. The factors used to determine if an employer-employee relationship exists are covered in Chapter 2 of Publication 15-A (PDF), Employer's Supplemental Tax Guide.

If your status as an employee is not at issue, it may be that you are in a category of employment whose earnings are not defined as wages under U.S. federal tax and social security law. Find out from your employer the reason that social security and Medicare taxes and income taxes are not being withheld from your pay. If you have further questions, contact the IRS at 800-829-1040 or visit an IRS walk-in office for assistance.

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