More than 1,000 federal income tax refund checks returned undelivered in Oklahoma


Monday, November 15th 2004, 11:49 am
By: News On 6


Oklahoma City - The Internal Revenue Service is looking for more than 950 Oklahomans whose federal income tax refund checks totaling more than $741,000 were returned to the IRS as undeliverable by the Postal Service.

Nationwide, 87,485 undeliverable refund checks totaling over $73-million wait to be claimed. The refund checks are mostly from 2003 individual income tax returns and, in Oklahoma, they range in amount from $1.00 to more than $54,000. The average check amount is about $724.

"This is not the government's money," said IRS spokesman David Stell. "The money belongs to the taxpayers who originally claimed those refunds. We want to get that money back into their hands just as soon as possible." Tracking down an undelivered refund check is easy. Taxpayers with Internet access may visit the IRS web site, www.irs.gov, and click on "Where's My Refund?"

Entering three basic pieces of information - Social Security Number, filing status, and the expected refund amount as shown on the 2003 federal income tax return - starts the simple and secure process. Taxpayers without Internet access who think they are missing a refund check may call the IRS, toll-free, at (800) TAX-1040 for assistance. "Besides a household move, often a marriage, divorce, or other major life event causes a change of address," said Stell. If taxpayers move or change their address and fail to notify the IRS or the U.S. Postal Service, a tax refund check sent to their last known address is returned to the IRS as undeliverable.

Taxpayers who have changed their address since filing their last tax return can ensure the IRS has their correct address by filing Form 8822, Change of Address, with the IRS. It's available online at www.irs.gov, or by calling, toll-free, (800) TAX-FORM.

Another reason a refund may be undeliverable is due to a handwritten but illegible address provided by a taxpayer on a paper-filed tax return. Using IRS e-file electronic tax filing, as more than 61 million taxpayers have done during 2004, eliminates such a problem.

Stell said though every year there are thousands of undeliverable refunds, the total is small compared to the total number of refunds issued by the IRS. This past tax filing season, more than 100 million federal income tax refunds for 2003, totaling more than $208 billion, were issued to taxpayers nationwide -- 49 million of which were directly deposited into personal checking or savings accounts.

Direct deposit also guards against theft or loss of refund checks. The option is available for both paper and electronically filed returns.