How do I replace a lost or damaged tax refund check from the IRS?

If you lost your tax return check, or if your refund check arrived and it's damaged, there are ways to request a replacement check. Here are all the ways to do so.

Jul 16, 2019

If you lose or damage your income tax refund check, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will issue you with another refund check once it verifies that you didn't get your money. If the lost income tax refund check is from your state government, you can also get a replacement if you follow due procedure.

Whether your income tax refund check was lost, stolen, or damaged, swift action is the best thing to do to remedy the situation.

Keep in mind that the longer you wait, the more difficult it becomes for the Internal Revenue Service to track your check and ensure that you get your money. Here is what you need to do to replace a lost or damaged tax refund check from the IRS:

Lost Tax Refund Checks

Before you conclude that your refund check is lost, make sure that you use the "Where's My Refund?" service to trace your refund check. This simple web-based tool allows you to start tracing your lost or missing refund check and notify the IRS when the check goes undelivered. This is a better way of checking the status of your refund check other than going through the hassle of waiting on the phone for hours to get through to the IRS.

If you discover that your tax refund check is missing, the first thing that you need to do is to call the IRS. Remember the fact that if your tax return was filed as "married filing jointly," you need to request to speak to an IRS agent to avoid going through the automated system to make your claim. The IRS will issue you with form 3911- the Taxpayer Statement Regarding Refund form. You will use this form to initiate the check replacement process.

Once your missing check request has been processed and cashed, you should expect to receive a claim package that will include a copy of the lost check from the Bureau of Fiscal Services. An IRS official will examine the signature on the claim and check before deciding whether to process the additional refund or not. This review process may take six weeks to complete.

Stolen Refund Checks

Before you conclude that your income tax refund check has been stolen, make sure that you check its status at the "Where's My Refund" tool. Alternatively, contact the IRS to verify the refund status. Before you reach the IRS, make sure that you note down your social security number (SSN) and the exact amount of the expected refund.

You'll need this information to verify your identity. If you are convinced that your refund check was stolen, call the IRS and provide all the information required. Wait for at least 28 days from the date the refund check was mailed before you make a stolen check claim. Once you make a claim, the IRS will begin the process of re-issuing your tax refund check.

One of the best ways to ensure that your check doesn't disappear after issuance is to have it automatically deposited in your bank account. Choose this option when filling out your tax return.

Fortunately, you can have the refund split into various bank accounts if that is what you prefer. Another significant benefit of this method is that your tax refund is deposited much sooner than the conventional paper check that is issued and mailed to your address.

In fact, if you file your returns electronically early and have your tax refund deposited directly to your bank account, the money could be in your bank account within 14 or fewer days of the IRS accepting your tax return. Just keep in mind that the longer you wait to file your annual tax return, the longer it will take to process your refund.

Adam has been tirelessly trying to help customers find the best tips and tricks to get through phone trees and writing many guides for prickly customer service problems. He's been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Inside Edition and Bloomberg.
How do I replace a lost or damaged tax refund check from the IRS?

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