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$10M in refunds floatin’ around

IRS has $10M in undeliverable refunds in L.A.

Posted: October 23, 2008 8:14 p.m.
Updated: December 25, 2008 5:00 a.m.
 

The Internal Revenue Service is looking for Los Angeles County taxpayers who are missing 8,832 economic stimulus checks totaling $5,367,272 and 4,700 regular refund checks totaling $4,775,918 that were returned by the U.S. Postal Service due to mailing address errors.

All a taxpayer has to do is update his or her address once. The IRS will then send out all checks due, according to IRS officials.

Stimulus checks
It is crucial that taxpayers who may be due a stimulus check update their addresses with the IRS by Nov. 28, 2008. By law, economic stimulus checks must be sent out by Dec. 31. The undeliverable checks in Los Angeles County average $608.

The "Where's My Stimulus Payment?" tool on IRS.gov is the quickest and easiest way for taxpayers to check the status of a stimulus check and receive instructions on how to update his or her address.
Taxpayers without internet access should call 1-866-234-2942.

Regular refunds
The 4,700 regular refund checks that were returned from Los Angeles County to the IRS average $1,016. California has a total of 15,824 regular refund checks, averaging $992 and totaling $15,704,484, that could still be claimed. These checks are re sent as soon as taxpayers update their address.

Taxpayers can update their addresses with the "Where's My Refund?" tool on IRS.gov. It 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 2007 return. The tool will provide the status of their refund and in some cases provide instructions on how to resolve delivery problems.

Taxpayers checking on a refund over the phone will be given instructions on how to update their addresses. Taxpayers can access a telephone version of "Where's My Refund?" by calling 1-800-829-1954.
The vast majority of checks mailed out by the IRS reach their rightful owner every year. Only a very small percent are returned by the U.S. Postal Service as undeliverable.

Through September, the government distributed 116 million economic stimulus payments with about 279,000 checks being undeliverable. Meanwhile, the IRS distributed more than 105 million regular refunds this year with only about 104,000 being undeliverable. In both cases, well under one percent of refunds or stimulus checks were undeliverable.

Avoiding future problems

The IRS encourages taxpayers to choose direct deposit when they file their return because it puts an end to lost, stolen or undeliverable checks. Taxpayers can receive refunds directly into personal checking or savings accounts. Direct deposit is available for filers of both paper and electronic returns.
The IRS also encourages taxpayers to file their tax returns electronically because e-file eliminates the risk of lost paper returns. E-file also reduces errors and speeds up refunds.

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