Last year, the Internal Revenue Service ended up with more
than $92 million
it didn't want. That's the amount of unclaimed refunds that were returned
to the agency because the checks were undeliverable.
Don't become one of those owed taxpayers this tax season.
Make sure your 2006 tax-return address is correct -- whether you write it in,
type it on your computer or use a preprinted label. A wrong address means missed
refunds go astray
There are several reasons why the IRS might have
a filer's wrong address.
Often people move and forget to tell the tax collector.
This is frequently the case with college students, who file their returns in the
spring using a campus address and then leave for the summer expecting the refund
check to follow them.
Although the IRS is now working with the U.S. Postal
Service to get updated addresses from the cards relocating taxpayers turn into
their local branches, it's better to deal directly with the tax agency. Send the
IRS a Form
8822, Change of Address, to make sure your tax correspondence follows you.
refunds can occur because
taxpayers provide an incorrect
address when they mail their
return. This often is as simple
as transposed numbers or the
use of "Avenue"
instead of "Street."
Double-check your address
entry before you seal the
envelope or hit "send."
major life changes
A death or marriage also could result in a returned
check. Estate executors need to explore whether a final refund might be involved.
Newly married taxpayers should notify the IRS promptly when
they move into their new shared home. When marriage also means a name change,
let the Social Security Administration know, too, so that a tax
ID matches the new married name.
Undelivered refunds will
eventually get to the filers when they submit new returns with correct addresses.
The IRS computers will match the Social Security numbers on those new forms to
the unclaimed checks.
But why wait for your money? Send in
a Form 8822.
Or better yet, the IRS says you can prevent lost
or misdirected checks by having your refund directly deposited. You now have the
option to divide your refund and electronically send it to up to three
When the money goes straight into
your bank account, there's much less worry that it will go astray, either lost
in the mail or stolen from your mailbox.
writer Kay Bell writes Bankrate's tax stories from her home in Austin, Texas,
and blogs each day on tax topics at Don't
Mess with Taxes.