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IRS Looking for More Than 84,000 Owners of Undelivered Refunds

IR-2005-125, Oct. 25, 2005

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service is seeking 84,290 taxpayers whose income tax refund checks could not be delivered in 2005. Checks totaling approximately $73 million can be reissued as soon as taxpayers correct or update their addresses with the IRS.

In some cases, a taxpayer has more than one check waiting. The average amount owed to each taxpayer is $871.

“Our goal is to get this money back in the hands of the people it belongs to," IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson said. "Visiting IRS.gov makes it easy for taxpayers to see if they've missed a refund."

The "Where's My Refund?" feature on the IRS.gov Web site provides taxpayers with information about their refunds. It is available from the home page. To use it, taxpayers enter their Social Security number, filing status (such as single or married filing jointly) and the refund amount shown on their 2004 tax return. When the information is submitted, “Where’s My Refund?” will show the status of a refund and, in some cases, provide instructions to resolve potential account issues.

In the case of Gulf Coast residents affected by Hurricane Katrina, the IRS will expedite research into the status of undelivered payments and issue a refund check when the original is outstanding. The IRS advises hurricane victims who had been expecting a refund check but did not receive one to contact the IRS on the special toll-free Katrina disaster line at 1-866-562-5227.

How to Update an Address with the IRS

Generally, refund checks can go astray for a variety of reasons. Often, a life change results in a change of address. When a taxpayer moves or changes address and fails to notify the IRS or the U.S. Postal Service, a check sent to the taxpayer’s last known address is returned to the IRS.

Taxpayers who have moved since filing their last tax return can ensure the IRS has their correct address by filing Form 8822, Change of Address, with the IRS. Download the form from IRS.gov or request it by calling 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676).

Those who do not have access to the Internet and think they may be missing a refund should first check their records or contact their tax preparer, then call the IRS toll-free assistance line at 1-800-829-1040 to update their address.

To put an end to undelivered refunds, taxpayers can join more than 52 million individuals this year who have taken advantage of Direct Deposit. Taxpayers who choose this service receive their refunds directly into a personal checking or savings account. Direct Deposit, which also guards against theft or lost refund checks, is available for filers of both paper and electronic returns.

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Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 12-Mar-2014