FINANCE: IRS Seeks to Return $153 Million in Undelivered Checks to Taxpayers
Column by Stephen Wiggs
Can you believe it: 99,123 taxpayers are due a refund averaging $1,547. All totaled, that's $153,000,000. The IRS says these checks could not be delivered because of mailing address errors.
If you believe your refund check may have been returned to the IRS as undelivered, you should use the "Where's My Refund?" tool on IRS.gov. This tool will provide the status of your refund and, in some cases, instruction on how to resolve delivery problems.
If you prefer to check on a refund over the phone, you will receive instructions on how to update your address. You can access a telephone version of "Where's My Refund?" by calling 800-829-1954.
While only a small percentage of checks mailed out by the IRS are returned as undelivered, you can put an end to lost, stolen or undelivered checks by choosing direct deposit when you file either paper or electronic returns. Last year, more than 78.4 million taxpayers chose to receive their refund through direct deposit. You can receive refunds directly into your bank account, split a tax refund into two or three financial accounts or even by a savings bond.
Next year professional tax return prepares that prepare more than 10 returns will be required to electronically file those returns. It is also recommended that if you prepare you own return, you should also electronically file your return. E-file eliminates the risk of lost paper returns, reduces errors on tax returns and speeds up your refund. Nearly eight out of 10 taxpayers chose to e-file last year. E-file combined the direct deposit is the best option for taxpayers to avoid refund problems; it's easy, fast and safe.
One last note: The IRS will never contact you by e-mail to alert you of a pending refund and does not ask for person or financial information through email. These messages are common phishing scams. The agency urges taxpayers receiving such messages not to release any personal information, reply, open any attachments or click on any links to avoid malicious code that can infect your computer. The best way for you to verify if you have a pending refund is going directly to IRS.gov and using the "Where's My Refund?" tool.