What Is Form 8888?

Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form 8888 lets you split your tax refund among up to three financial accounts, as well as allowing you to use it to purchase up to $5,000 in paper series I savings bonds. In addition to regular bank savings and checking accounts and savings bonds, this form lets you put a portion of your refund into a mutual fund brokerage, a credit union, an individual retirement arrangement (IRA), a health savings account (HSA), an Archer MSA, a Coverdell education savings account (ESA), or a TreasuryDirect online account.

Key Takeaways

  • IRS Form 8888 lets you allocate your tax refund to up to three different accounts.
  • Do not use Form 8888 if you want to deposit your entire refund to one account. Instead, request direct deposit on your tax return.
  • All Form 8888 deposits must be to accounts in your name, your spouse's name, or a joint account.
  • You can't file Form 8888 if you file Form 8379 (Injured Spouse Allocation) or with an amended tax return.
  • File Form 8888 electronically to get your refund faster.

Who Can File Form 8888?

All taxpayers are allowed to use Form 8888. However, there are certain circumstances that preclude it.

Form 8888 should not be used if you want to deposit your refund into only one account. In that case, request direct deposit on your tax return.

You can't use Form 8888 to deposit a refund into an account in someone else’s name. The account must be in your name, your spouse’s name, or a joint account that includes you.

You may not file Form 8888 if you are also filing Form 8379 (Injured Spouse Allocation). You are also prevented from using Form 8888 with an amended tax return.

Make sure your bank or financial institution accepts direct deposits, including into an individual account from a joint refund, before adding it to Form 8888.

How Do I Fill Out Form 8888?

Form 8888

All pages of Form 8888 are available on the IRS website.

Part I: Direct Deposit

  • Lines 1a, 2a, 3a—Enter the amount of your refund you want deposited into each of up to three accounts. Minimum deposit per account is $1. Any delay in processing your return will result in the entire refund going into the first account listed on Form 8888. Eligible accounts include checking, savings, credit union, mutual fund, IRA, HSA, MSA, ESA, or TreasuryDirect online accounts.
  • Lines 1b, 2b, 3b—The routing number must be nine digits. The first two digits must be 01 through 12 or 21 through 32.
  • Lines 1c, 2c, 3c—Check only one box for account type. If unsure, ask your financial institution. TreasuryDirect online accounts are considered “Savings.”
  • Lines 1d, 2d, 3d—The account number can be up to 17 characters, including numbers, letters, and hyphens. Do not include spaces or other symbols. For checking accounts, do not include the check number.

Part II: U.S. Series I Savings Bond Purchases

Request up to three savings bond registrations. Each registration must be a multiple of $50. The total of lines 4, 5a, and 6a can’t be more than the smaller of $5,000 or your refund amount.

  • Line 4—Enter the amount you wish to use to buy bonds for yourself (and your spouse, if filing jointly). These savings bonds will be registered in the name(s) shown on your tax return.
  • Lines 5a, 6a—Enter the amount you want to use to buy bonds for yourself, your spouse, or another person.
  • Lines 5b, 6b—Enter the owner’s name for this bond registration. This can be you, your spouse, or someone else, but it must be one name only. Enter the first name followed by the last name with one space in between. Use the owner’s given name (no nicknames). Print clearly and use letters only (no symbols).
  • Lines 5c, 6c—If you want to add a co-owner or beneficiary, enter his or her name. It can be you, your spouse, or someone else. Enter the first name followed by a space, then the last name. Use the given name only (no nicknames) and no special symbols. If this person is a beneficiary, check the appropriate box on line 5c or 6c.

All bonds will be mailed to you. Check the status of your request by contacting Treasury Retail Securities at (844) 284-2676.

Part III: Paper Check

  • Line 7—If part of your refund has not been accounted for, you can request a paper check be mailed to you with the balance. Enter the amount on line 7. 

Part IV: Total Allocation of Refund

  • Line 8—The total on line 8 must equal the total amount of your refund and must also equal the total amounts listed on Form 8888. If the total on line 8 is different, a paper check refund will be sent.

Where Can I Get Form 8888?

Form 8888 is available online at the IRS Forms, Instructions & Publications website by typing “8888” in the search box. You can also obtain it by contacting your nearest IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center or checking at your local library, post office, bank, or even at some large grocery stores.

You can have any IRS form mailed to you by visiting the IRS Forms and Publications by U.S. Mail page online or by calling (800) TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676) Mondays through Fridays, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. local time—except Alaska and Hawaii; for calls from those two states the office is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Pacific time.

Can Form 8888 Be E-Filed?

IRS e-File and most commercial tax software programs, such as TurboTax and TaxAct, support split refunds using Form 8888. Online filing lets you direct deposit into multiple accounts and obtain your refund in 21 days or less, according to the IRS.

Where Do I Mail Form 8888?

You can, of course, file Form 8888 with a paper return. To find out where to mail your return check, go to Where to File Paper Tax Returns With or Without a Payment.