IR-2006-178, Nov. 16, 2006
WASHINGTON — An average refund of $963 is waiting for 95,746 taxpayers whose refund checks have been returned to the Internal Revenue Service as undeliverable.
The checks, worth a total of $92.2 million, can be claimed as soon as their owners update their addresses with the IRS. In some cases, a taxpayer has more than one check waiting.
“Every year, many taxpayers miss their refunds because they move without notifying the IRS or Postal Service of a change of address,” IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson said. "For those missing their check, the IRS is making it easier than ever for taxpayers to update their information and claim their refunds."
Taxpayers can use the "Where's My Refund?" feature on the home page of the IRS.gov Web site to learn the status of their refunds. To use it, a taxpayer must enter a Social Security number, filing status (such as single or married filing jointly) and the refund amount shown on the taxpayer’s 2005 tax return. When the information is submitted, “Where’s My Refund?” will display the status of a refund and, in some cases, provide instructions on how to resolve potential account issues.
Taxpayers can access a telephone version of “Where’s My Refund?” by calling 1-800-829-1954.
How to Update an Address with the IRS
Refund checks can go astray for a variety of reasons. Sometimes 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.
“Where’s My Refund?” now has an online mailing address update feature for taxpayers whose refund checks were returned to IRS. If an undeliverable check was originally issued within the past 12 months, the taxpayer will be prompted online to provide an updated mailing address.
The address update feature is only available to taxpayers using the Web version of “Where’s My Refund?” Taxpayers with undelivered refund checks who access “Where’s My Refund?” by phone will receive instructions on next steps. Individuals whose refunds were not returned to IRS as undeliverable cannot update their mailing addresses through the “Where’s My Refund?” service.
A taxpayer can also ensure the IRS has his or her correct address by filing Form 8822, Change of Address. 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.
Direct Deposit Can Put an End to Lost Refunds
To put an end to undelivered refunds, taxpayers can take 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.