When you file form 1040, 1040A, 1040EZ, 1040NR, 1040NR-EZ, 1040-SS or 1040-PR and you are owed a refund, the form gives you the option to apply your refund to next year’s estimated taxes, receive it as a check or receive it as a direct deposit to a single checking or savings account. However, if you’re owed a tax refund, you actually don’t have to receive it all as one check or as a single direct deposit to one bank account. If you check the box on your 1040 indicating that you want a split refund and file Form 8888, Allocation of Refund, you can divide your refund among several options.

You can ask the IRS to split your refund between two or three bank accounts with any U.S. financial institution that accepts electronic deposits (which don’t have to be at the same bank), and you don’t have to divide your refund evenly. You can also use all or part of your tax refund to purchase up to $5,000 in Series I savings bonds (zero-coupon, inflation-protected bonds) for yourself or for someone else. There is a $1 minimum for each direct deposit; savings bonds have a $50 minimum and must be purchased in $50 increments.

You cannot direct any part of your refund to someone else’s account, unless that person is your spouse and you’ve filed jointly. You also cannot receive part of your refund as a check and part as a direct deposit.

If you make a mistake in calculating your refund and the IRS catches it, it will add or subtract the difference from the last account you designate on form 8888. But if there is a mistake and you allocated part of your refund to I bonds, you’ll receive your entire refund as a check.

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