The other day, IRS announced that it has $153.3 million in undelivered tax refund checks. There are 99,123 taxpayers who are due refund checks that couldn’t be delivered because of mailing address errors. These undelivered checks average out to $1,547 per check, which (in my mind) isn’t chump change!
How the heck does this happen, you ask? The usual culprit is IRS having an old expired address on record, and no address to forward to. They will always deliver to the last known address that they have on record, and if you’re no longer there (and any post office forwarding order has expired), that refund check will be sent back. If you believe that Uncle Sam owes you a tax refund that you haven’t received, go to IRS’s home page (IRS.gov) and click on the “Where’s My Refund” link. You’ll need to enter information about the return that you believe you’re due a refund on (don’t worry, it’s a secure web page), and you’ll be informed of the status of that refund.
IRS suggests a couple of ways to make sure you always get the refund due you. The first is to notify them when you move, by updating your address on Form 8822 (Change of Address), which can be found at http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f8822.pdf . Alternatively (and preferred by IRS) you should file your tax return electronically, and choose to have your refund directly deposited into the bank. You can speak with your favorite CPA about all of this.
In the same announcement, IRS also reminded taxpayers that they do not contact taxpayers by e-mail about pending refunds, and do not ask about personal or financial information through e-mail. If you ever receive an e-mail from a sender professing to be the Internal Revenue Service, do not reply, do not open any attachments, and do not click on any links; it’s a phishing scam. So be careful!
Please pass this article along to everybody who’s a taxpayer (probably everybody you know), because you never know who could use an extra $1,547 (average) in their pocket, or bank account. Do you have any good stories about undeliverable or misplaced IRS refunds or correspondence? Please leave a comment, and also let me know if you have any topic you’d like to see me write about in the future.