Putting your tax refund into a retirement account? Read this

Considering depositing your tax refund into your retirement account? Make sure no snafus happen along the way.

If you plan on having the IRS deposit your tax refund into one or more individual retirement accounts (IRAs), most of the hard part is already done: You’ve already decided that you want to save the money instead of spending it on new patio furniture or a trip to Jamaica.

Still, you’re not in the clear yet. Here are a handful of possible obstacles that might mess up your tax refund on its way through the direct deposit process:

  • Wrong account number. If you accidentally use the wrong account number and it belongs to another customer, that mistake could take weeks or even months to correct. The IRS maintains that correct input of financial information on the tax return is the taxpayer’s responsibility, so make sure you check and recheck the account numbers you are using for your refund.

  • Manual revisions. If the IRS gets your tax return and finds that the routing numbers have been manually revised, your direct deposit request has a higher chance of being rejected. You may get an old-fashioned refund check in the mail.

  • Wrong type of account. It’s up to you to verify that your financial institution will accept direct deposits into an IRA. Some banks, for example, will reject direct deposits to anything other than a savings account.

  • Refund adjustments. Sometimes the IRS corrects a taxpayer’s math or makes other adjustments that can affect the refund amount. In some cases, these adjustments may result in a direct deposit that exceeds the allowable IRA contribution amount. If so, you could be stuck with a penalty for excess contributions.

Putting your tax refund into an IRA can be a great idea, but remember: Double-check your return and be aware of the rules your bank or credit union has about IRA direct deposits.