Common questions about tax refund checks and payments


I requested a direct deposit refund. Why is the IRS mailing it to me as a paper check?

There are three possible reasons. They are as follows:

  • The treasury can only deposit refunds electronically into accounts in your own name, your spouse’s name or in a joint account.
  • The taxpayer entered an incorrect account number and the financial institution may reject a direct deposit.
  • The Treasury can’t deposit more than three electronic refunds into a single financial account.

I have entered a wrong routing number or account number for Direct Deposit. What should I do?

You need to contact the IRS directly, explain the mistake and have the IRS recall the direct deposit and issue you a check or a new deposit. However, this could take a while. The IRS number to call is 1-800-829-1040.

Where are the IRS Tax Refund Checks Mailed From?

IRS Refund checks come from the Department of Treasury, If you’re wondering when to check for your money from your federal tax refund status in the mail, you should know when the IRS will send it.

Generally, any paper checks issued are sent out on Fridays. A truck arrives at the federal IRS building in Philadelphia, PA, and picks up all the checks issued that week. So, unless there was some special circumstance with your federal tax refund paper check status, it will be sent out on Friday. Most people will receive their tax refunds in their mailbox sometime between Saturday and Tuesday.

How long will it take to receive your federal tax refund check from the IRS?


After it’s processed and everything is ok, they normally mail it out on a Friday and it takes between 1-3 days to get to you.

You should allow up to 5 business days after it’s been issued for delivery. If you’ve recently checked your IRS tax refund check status and know it will be sent on Friday, wait until the following Friday before you call to ask where it is.

How long is an IRS Tax Refund Check valid for?

It’s valid for 90 days from the date it was issued.

If you lost your tax refund check, you should initiate a refund trace:

  • Call the IRS at 800-829-1954 (toll-free) and use the automated system or speak with an agent.
  • However, if you filed a married filing jointly return, you can’t initiate a trace using the automated systems. Download and complete the Form 3911, Taxpayer Statement Regarding Refund, or the IRS can issue you a Form 3911 to get the replacement process started.

Your claim for a missing refund is processed one of two ways:

  • If the check wasn’t cashed, you’ll receive a replacement check once the original check is canceled.
  • If the refund check was cashed, the Bureau of the Fiscal Service (BFS) will provide you with a claim package that includes a copy of the cashed check. BFS will review your claim and the signature on the canceled check before determining whether they can issue you a replacement check. The BFS review can take up to six weeks to complete.

Share your Tax Refund Check Questions below. Connect with others that are waiting for their paper check to arrive by mail!

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