IRS Seeks to Return Undelivered Checks to Taxpayers; Recommends e-file, Direct Deposit to Avoid Future Delivery Problems


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WASHINGTON ― The Internal Revenue Service is looking to return tax refunds that were not delivered earlier this year because of mailing address errors. 

Taxpayers who did not get their refund in the mail as expected and believe their refund check may have been returned to the IRS should use the “Where’s My Refund?” tool on Taxpayers can access a telephone version of “Where’s My Refund?” by calling 1-800-829-1954.

Nearly three-quarters of all individual income tax filers are due a refund on their annual tax return. Although the vast majority of those refunds are issued as direct deposits, more than 25 million taxpayers request paper refund checks. The IRS recommends filing tax returns electronically and using direct deposit. Electronic filing eliminates the risk of lost returns and reduces errors on tax returns that can cause refund delays. Direct deposit prevents the possibility of a check being returned to the IRS as undeliverable and ends the danger of paper checks being lost or stolen.

Taxpayers should be aware that the IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information.  This includes any type of electronic communication, such as text messages and social media channels.. E-mails informing taxpayers of pending tax refunds and asking for personal information are 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 their computers. 

The best way for individuals to verify if they have a pending refund is to go directly to and use the “Where’s My Refund?” tool.

Taxpayers should be aware that, when a refund is undelivered one year and the taxpayer files a subsequent year’s tax return, the refund will be applied to any balance due on that subsequent–year tax return (or added to any refund owed the taxpayer) and delivered to the taxpayer per the instructions on their newly-filed return.