A total of 111,893 taxpayers are due one or more refund checks that could not be delivered because of wrong mailing addresses.
The US Internal Revenue Service is looking to return $164.6 million in undelivered refund checks to US taxpayers, according to a recent notice. A total of 111,893 taxpayers are due one or more refund checks that could not be delivered because of wrong mailing addresses.
‘‘We want to make sure taxpayers get the money owed to them,‘‘ IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman said. ‘‘If you think you are missing a refund, the sooner you update your address information, the quicker you can get your money.‘‘
A US taxpayer only needs to update his or her address once for the IRS to send out all checks due. Undelivered refund checks average $1,471 this year, compared to $1,148 last year.
The average dollar amount for returned refunds rose by just over 28 percent this year, possibly due to recent changes in tax law that introduced new credits or expanded existing credits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit.
If a refund check is returned to the IRS as undelivered, taxpayers can generally update their addresses with the ‘‘Where‘s My Refund?‘‘ tool on IRS.gov. The tool also enables taxpayers to check the status of their refunds.
A taxpayer must submit his or her Social Security number, filing status and amount of refund shown on their 2009 return. The tool will provide the status of their 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, taxpayers can put an end to lost, stolen or undelivered checks by choosing direct deposit when they file either paper or electronic returns.
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.
The IRS also recommends that US taxpayers file their tax returns electronically, because e-file eliminates the risk of lost paper returns. E-file also reduces errors on tax returns and speeds up refunds. E-file combined with direct deposit is the best option for taxpayers; it‘s easy, fast and safe, according to the IRS.
You should also be aware that the IRS does not contact taxpayers by email to alert them of pending refunds and that such messages are common identity-theft scams. You should not release any personal information, reply, open any attachments or click on any links, to avoid malicious code that can infect computers. The best way to verify if you have a pending refund is going directly to IRS.gov and use the ‘‘Where‘s My Refund?‘‘ tool.
As always, consult experienced tax advisors in each country at an early stage in specific cases.
Leon Harris is a certified public accountant and tax specialist at Harris Consulting & Tax Ltd.