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Claiming Undelivered IRS Tax Refund Checks

Tax Refund Check

Don’t be one of the 99,123 taxpayers who did not receive their tax refund check. The Internal Revenue Service has over $153 million of undelivered tax refund checks for the 2010 tax year. According to their website, the average refund amount is $1,547. That’s a lot of money.

Cause for Non-Delivery

The major cause of the non-delivery of tax refund checks is mailing address error. Some checks were lost, some returned and, unfortunately, some were stolen. For this very reason, it is extremely important to double and triple check the mailing address submitted to the IRS when completing your taxes.

Even more important than checking the return mailing address, make sure to notify the IRS if you move between the time of filing and receiving your tax refund. Often times moving taxpayers file a change of address form with the local post office. Unfortunately, the change of address form doesn’t always solve the problem. The IRS must be notified directly.

Claiming IRS Tax Refund

If you’re one of the 99,123 people who did not receive a tax refund, you have two options for claiming it:Where is my tax refund?

  • Call the “Where’s My Refund?” hot line at 1-800-829-1954. By calling that number you’ll get instructions on how to update your mailing address.
  • Use the online Where’s My Refund tool on the IRS website and follow the directions for updating your address.

Avoiding Undelivered Tax Refund Checks

The easiest way to avoid this mishap is to opt for the direct deposit option when filing your taxes. You can instruct the Internal Revenue Service to deposit the funds directly into your checking, savings or both. They have the ability to submit payments to more than on financial account.

If you prefer, you can use your electronic tax refund to purchase savings bonds. People who opt to use direct deposit get their refund checks much faster than those who elect to receive a paper check.

In addition to selecting direct deposit, the IRS recommends filing your taxes electronically. When you file electronically the IRS gets your returns faster and it significantly reduces the risk of losing your documentation.

Avoid Tax-Related Email Scams

If you receive an e-mail purportedly from the IRS advising that you are due a refund, delete it. The IRS does not contact taxpayers via email. Unfortunately, scammers create authentic looking e-mails advising of a refund while requesting personal information. Do not click on the links or provide personal information. The only way to claim a lost refund check is via the Where’s My Refund tools listed above. For more information visit the IRS.gov website.

About the author: Felicia A. Williams is a wife, mother, freelance writer and owner of Tidbits About Money.

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