Last year alone the IRS had 99,123 refund checks totaling $153 million - an average of over $1500 per taxpayer - returned by the post office as undeliverable, due to unreported changes of name and/or address.
It's important to realize undeliverable refunds are but one small component of unclaimed assets held by the IRS. A significantly greater number of checks are delivered, but for one reason were not cashed. Estimates are the total amount is in excess of $8 billion.
If a check is returned by the post office as undeliverable, IRS will attempt to obtain a correct address for the taxpayer. If successful, the check is reissued. If no new address is available, the check is returned to the U.S. Treasury. IRS policy is to credit any amount due to returns filed during the succeeding three years. But if no returns are filed, the account reverts to inactive status and is removed from the active master file.
Regarding delivered but uncashed checks, unless the taxpayer contacts the IRS, they have no way of knowing the check was not cashed. All Treasury checks now expire one year from the date of issue; so if you discover a check more than a year old that was never cashed, you will have to apply for a replacement.
specifically prohibits any tax refund from escheating to
individual states, so a check of your local unclaimed
property office will not provide any useful information.
For assistance tracing and claiming IRS income tax
refunds go to:
|Special Note: If you have moved since your last income tax filing, IRS Form 8822 "Change of Address" should be filed. To avoid future problems with lost and uncashed checks, IRS suggests you join the 23.5 million taxpayers who have chosen to receive refunds via direct deposit.|
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