If your bank has changed since you last filed a tax return, you need to see this!


This morning I woke up and discovered that there’s a live tool to change your bank account with the IRS if you changed bank info since 2018 but haven’t yet filed for 2019. I had a client in that situation, so I called up and got permission to do this, and this is how it went.

1.) It’s an Intuit product, basically using the front end that TurboTax uses. You have to create a login with an email and a cellphone and you need to go confirm the email address and get a PIN for a cellphone.

2.) You need to have the NEW bank routing info and bank account. NOTE that we were using the 2018 return for the OTHER data, so watch to make sure you have the correct bank on hand. A check is perfect: routine numbers are the nine digits on the left, account numbers are usually the next digits that come before the check number.

3.) You need to know the 2018 AGI (line 7). If you filed separately last year there’s a place to enter both of your AGIs, otherwise, joint just goes under “Taxpayer”.

4.) You need to know the PIN the client used to sign their 2018 tax return. Hello, which of our clients know that? (It’s printed on Form 8879, commonly known as the “efile authorization.)

5.) You need to have driver’s licenses or state IDs on hand – I used the ones used on the 2018 return as nothing had expired, not sure what would happen if it had.

6.) You need to know the social security numbers and dates of birth.

7.) If there’s an identity theft PIN you’ll need that, too.

It went pretty smoothly once I went and confirmed the email account was good, so take the time in step 1 to go find your email and click to verify it.

I used my own email and cellphone number to start, and at the end I put the client’s cellphone number. The client knew I was doing this (and was on the phone with me). Because I have a Google Apps environment, I tacked the client’s last name onto my own work email, so the email I used was office+CLIENTNAME@ProsperiTeaPlanning.com.

Note that there is a great big HUGE fraud risk in here: every single tax accountant is now required to get copies of people’s driver’s licenses. Honestly, I had more info than the client did because I had their AGI and Signature PINs handy from 2018 – I’m required to keep those. There is NOTHING that prevented me from changing the bank info to any account I wanted, other than, of course, the part where it’d be criminal fraud and that’s not how I roll. But, yeah, the stuff they’ve done to cut down on identity theft has now made it so every tax office has everything we need to steal people’s identities. Good job, government!