Hertsel Shadian, Attorney at Law, LLC

IRS Seeks to Return $153 Million in Undelivered Checks to Taxpayers

8 December 2011

In an annual reminder to taxpayers, the Internal Revenue Service announced recently that it is looking to return $153.3 million in undelivered tax refund checks. In all, 99,123 taxpayers are due refund checks this year that could not be delivered because of mailing address errors. Undelivered refund checks average $1,547 this year.

Taxpayers who believe their refund check may have been returned to the IRS as undelivered should use the Where’s My Refund? tool on www.IRS.gov. The tool will provide the status of a taxpayer’s refund and, in some cases, instructions on how to resolve delivery problems. Taxpayers checking on a refund over the phone will receive instructions on how to update their addresses. Taxpayers can access a telephone version of “Where’s My Refund?” by calling 1-800-829-1954.

While only a small percentage of checks mailed out by the IRS are returned as undelivered, the IRS does offer another option (if taxpayers choose) to help avoid lost, stolen or undelivered checks: taxpayers can opt for direct deposit when they file either paper or electronic returns. The IRS reports that last year, more than 78.4 million taxpayers chose to receive their refund through direct deposit. Taxpayers can receive refunds directly into their bank account, split a tax refund into two or three financial accounts or even buy a savings bond. As usual, the IRS also recommends that taxpayers file their tax returns electronically, because e-file reduces the risk of lost paper returns. According to the IRS, e-file also speeds up refunds. The IRS reports that nearly 8 out of 10 taxpayers chose e-file last year.

As a helpful reminder, taxpayers should be aware that the IRS does not contact taxpayers by e-mail to alert them of pending refunds and does not ask for personal or financial information through email.  Such messages are common phishing scams. (For more information about such scams, see the link to the IRS article below.) The IRS 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 an individual to verify if she or he has a pending refund is by going directly to www.IRS.gov and using the “Where’s My Refund?” tool.

For more information, contact your professional tax advisor or tax preparer, or call Hertsel Shadian, Attorney at Law, LLC at (503) 352-6985. Please also share this article with others.