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Q: My wife and I submitted our income tax return jointly and we got a tax refund check that was written out to both our names. We don’t yet have a joint savings account. Is it possible to transfer the tax reimbursement explore one of our own checking accounts?
– Daniel P.
A: With most checks written to multiple individuals, it’s essential to look at exactly what the check writer took down on the “Pay to the order of” line. There’s a significant distinction between “Party A and Celebration B” and “Party A or Celebration B.”
If the check states that the funds are paid to either party, then either of you can deposit the check in your various bank accounts.
If the check mentions that the funds are paid to you and an additional party, then the check deposit can become far more of a headache if you don’t have a joint checking account with the various other celebration.
According to Section-110(d) of the Uniform Commercial Code, if a check payable to 2 or even more individuals is uncertain in regards to the payee(s), any of the stated payees can deposit the check out their various accounts.
In every case, all other payees must recommend the consult their signatures.
Since refund checks from joint tax returns are paid to both filers, you’ll have to follow your bank’s policy on check deposits that contain multiple payees (each bank has its own policy). Banks must account for the threat involved in the possibility that a check was written out to multiple individuals and among the people attempt to deposit all the funds into his/her own account.
Some banks can be really rigorous. For instance, Bank of America requires that both individuals must’ve their names on the account that gets a check with 2 payees. Popular online bank Ally Bank has the same policy.
Chase and Wells Fargo requires that, if you wish to transfer a check that’s payable to two people, both payees must go to a branch face to face and present government identification to confirm the signatures on the back of the check.
Other banks are rather lenient. Citibank and online bank Capital One 360 simply needed that checks are correctly recommended by all payees. They do not stipulate that all payees should provide recognition or keep joint accounts.
It’d be best to call your bank ahead before you deposit the check. Likewise, don’t deposit the check through an ATM and hope that the bank will accept it. If the bank finds that the check deposit was in violation of its policies, it may become a lot more of a hassle to obtain the circumstance cleared.
In most cases, you’d be better off asking the payer to compose 2 separate checks.