IRS Form 3911 Instructions

If you were expecting a tax refund but have not received it, the IRS has several options available to you. You can contact the United States Internal Revenue Service by phone or research the status on the IRS website using the Where’s My Refund tool. You can also file IRS Form 3911 to declare a lost refund check.

In this article, we’ll cover what you need to know about this tax form, including:

  • How to complete IRS Form 3911
  • How the refund payment trace process works
  • Frequently asked questions about Form 3911

Let’s start with step by step guidance on how to fill out Form 3911.

How do I fill out IRS Form 3911?

This tax form is pretty straightforward. We’ll walk through this one page form step by step, beginning at the top.

Most of the information at the top of the form will pertain to any IRS correspondence that you receive. If you requested that the IRS send you a copy of Form 3911 to initiate a trace for the original check, then you may see some of the fields completed. If you downloaded this form, then this information will be blank.

IRS Form 3911-taxpayer statement regarding refund

However, there are a couple of notes worth emphasizing.

You must file a separate form for each missing refund

If you have more than one missing refund, or are missing refunds from more than tax period, you must file a separate check for each of the missing payments.

If you have held onto a check for more than one year and can no longer deposit or cash it, contact the IRS for instructions before continuing.

Let’s move on to Section I.

Section I

When you complete Section I, you will enter the personal information that the IRS requires in order to research your tax return, and if possible, issue a replacement check.

Line 1: Taxpayer information

Enter your name and your taxpayer identification number. For individuals, this will be your Social Security number or individual tax identification number (ITIN). For business owners, this number will be the employer identification number (EIN).

Line 2: Spouse information

For married couples filing a joint tax return, your spouse’s information should go into Line 2. Otherwise, enter N/A.

If your spouse’s information is in Line 2, then your spouse must sign Line 11, at the end of the form.

Note: If your filing status is as a married couple filing jointly, filing Form 3911 is the only way to initiate a trace of your paper check or direct deposit. Calling the automated number will not work because the IRS’ automated systems are not able to trace your tax return. However, you can still check your refund status under the IRS Check Your Refund tool.

Line 3: Address & phone number

Enter your complete mailing address, including:

  • Street name
  • Apartment number (if applicable)
  • City
  • State
  • Zip code

Below your address, include your complete phone number, beginning with the area code. This should be a number where the IRS can contact you during the workday.

Line 4: Name as it appears on your tax return

If your name or address appears differently on your tax return than the information indicated in Line 1 or Line 3, then enter your name or address as it appears on your tax return.

Form 3911 Section 1: Tax return information

Line 5: Authorized representative

If you have an authorized representative whom you would like to receive your refund check on your behalf, enter that person’s name in Line 5. Otherwise, enter ‘N/A.’

Line 6: Representative’s address

If you entered the name of an authorized representative on Line 5, enter that person’s address here.

Line 7: Tax return information

You’ll need to complete this tax return information so the IRS knows exactly what to look for. This includes:

  • Type of return (check individual or business)
  • Tax return form number (IRS Form 1040, IRS Form 1040-SR, IRS Form 1040-NR, etc)
  • Type of refund requested (check, direct deposit)
  • Refund amount, according to your tax return
  • Tax period
  • Date filed

If you wish this to be sent to you electronically, you’ll also need to include your bank’s direct deposit information. This includes:

  • Account type (savings, checking, or other)
  • Bank’s routing number: This is the 9 digit number located on the left hand side of a check
  • Account number: Make sure your account number matches the type of account listed

Section II: Refund Information

In this section, you’ll give some more information about your check.

Line 8

Check the appropriate box(es) if you either did not receive a refund, or you received the check and it was lost, stolen or destroyed.

Line 9

If you received a check and signed it, check this box. You might not have many options if the IRS or Treasury Department find that the signed check actually cleared.

IRS Form 3911 Section II: Refund information

Section III: Certification

Line 10: Taxpayer signature

Sign and date here. Recognize that your signature comes under penalties of perjury. Only sign this document if this information is true to the best of your knowledge.

Line 11: Spouse’s signature

If your spouse’s information is in Line 2, your spouse needs to sign and date here, under penalties of perjury.

Form 3911 Section III: Certification

How do I file Form 3911?

You can file Form 3911 by fax or mail. However, do not send this form to the Internal Revenue Service Center where you normally file your tax return.

Instead, you must send this request to the appropriate refund inquiry unit, based upon your location. We’ve included a list of refund inquiry units below, with complete mailing address and fax numbers.

Do not fax other paperwork to the listed fax numbers. The IRS highly stresses that taxpayers should only submit Form 3911 to the respective fax number.

If you reside in: Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont

Send your request to:

Andover Refund Inquiry Unit
310 Lowell St
Mail Stop 666
Andover, MA 01810

If you reside in: Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Virginia

Send your request to:

Atlanta Refund Inquiry Unit
4800 Buford Hwy
Mail Stop 112
Chamblee, GA 30341

If you reside in: Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Texas

Send your request to:

Austin Refund Inquiry Unit
3651 S Interregional Hwy 35
Mail Stop 6542 AUSC
Austin, TX 78741 

If you reside in: New York

Send your request to:

Brookhaven Refund Inquiry Unit
1040 Waverly Ave
Mail Stop 547
Holtsville, NY 11742 

If you reside in: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming

Send your request to:

Fresno Refund Inquiry Unit
3211 S Northpointe Dr.
Mail Stop B2007
Fresno, CA 93725 

If you reside in: Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, Ohio, West Virginia

Send your request to:

Kansas City Refund Inquiry Unit
333 W Pershing Rd
Mail Stop 6800, N-2
Kansas City, MO 64108 

If you reside in: Alabama, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee

Send your request to:

Memphis Refund Inquiry Unit
5333 Getwell Rd
Mail Stop 8422
Memphis, TN 38118 

If you reside in: District of Columbia, Idaho, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island

Send your completed form to:

Philadelphia Refund Inquiry Unit
2970 Market St
DP 3-L08-151
Philadelphia, PA 19104 

For other taxpayers

If any of the following apply:

  • You reside in a foreign country, U.S. possession or territory,
  • You use an APO or FPO address
  • You file IRS Form 2555 because you have foreign earned income
  • You file IRS Form 4563 as a resident of American Samoa
  • You are a dual-status alien

Then mail Form 3911 to:

Austin Refund Inquiry Unit
3651 S Interregional Hwy 35
Mail Stop 6542 AUSC
Austin, TX 78741 

For Business Entities

States west of the Mississippi (except for Arkansas and Louisiana), and Wisconsin should submit authorizations to:

Ogden Refund Inquiry Unit
1973 N Rulon White Blvd
Mail Stop 6733
Ogden, UT 84404

States east of the Mississippi (except for Wisconsin), and Arkansas and Louisiana should submit authorizations to:

Cincinnati Refund Inquiry Unit
PO Box 145500
Mail Stop 536G
Cincinnati, OH 45250

Video walkthrough

Watch this instructional video for step-by-step guidance on completing Form 3911.

Frequently asked questions

What is IRS Form 3911 used for?

IRS Form 3911, Taxpayer Statement Regarding Refund, is the tax form that a taxpayer may use to inform the IRS of a missing tax refund. By filing this form, the taxpayer initiates a refund trace. If successful, the IRS will issue a replacement check to the taxpayer.

What is the IRS refund trace process like?

When you file Form 3911 in search for a missing check, the IRS will process your request and come to one of two conclusions:
-Your check was not cashed or deposited
-Your check was cashed or deposited

If your check was not already cashed or deposited, then the IRS will cancel your check and send you a replacement check.

If your check was already cashed or deposited, then the Department of Treasury will contact you through its Bureau of the Fiscal Service (BFS). The BFS will send you a claim package that includes a copy of the cashed check.

Follow the instructions for completing the claim package. 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.

Can I check the status of my tax refund without IRS Form 3911?

You can check the status of your tax refund without filing Form 3911 in one of several ways:
-Use the IRS Check Your Refund online tool on the IRS web site
-Call the IRS’ automated number: (800) 829-1954 to initiate the trace Married taxpayers filing a joint tax return cannot use this option
-Call the IRS and speak with a representative: (800) 829-1040

What if I’m still missing a stimulus check from 2020 or 2021?

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the IRS issued a series of three economic impact payments, known as stimulus checks. If you are missing one or more stimulus checks, filing Form 3911 will not help you if you did not file an income tax return for tax years 2020 or 2021.

If you did not file an income tax return for either tax year 2020 or 2021, then you may need to file the tax return for the appropriate tax year in order to receive a recovery rebate credit as a substitute for the missing stimulus payment.

Where can I find a copy of Form 3911?

Like most reproducible copies of federal tax forms, Form 3911 can be found on the IRS website. For your convenience, we’ve included a copy at the bottom of this article.

Related tax forms

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  1. Clifford Mead St Clair Jr says:

    I did not receive my tax refund check for 2021. It was sent on August 5, 2022. I sent a 3911 form on Nov 5 2022 but no answer. I sent by fax in April 2023 but no answer. As I live in Spain, I sent to the Austin TX Refund Inquiry Unit. What do I do now?

    1. Forrest Baumhover says:

      Generally, I would first start by using the ‘Check Refund’ tool on the IRS website. This will at least tell you whether or not the IRS has received your tax return in the first place. Since you’ve already done this, and sent IRS Form 3911 (twice), I would try to call the IRS and talk with a revenue agent. This number is (800) 829-1040.

      Below is the link to the website, which contains a little additional information. Also, if you are looking for IRS hours of operation (especially if calling from overseas), there is a link to the IRS page for their Hours of Operation. For convenience, I’ve placed both links below.

  2. Gerrianne says:

    This site was very helpful with filing and the mailing address for Form 3911.

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