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Dude, where’s my refund?

By Kay Bell ·
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Posted: 10 am ET

Need a little extra cash this holiday season? The Internal Revenue Service might be able to help.

The U.S. Treasury has $164.6 million in tax refund checks that were returned this year as undeliverable. The average check amount comes to $1,471. That sure would go a long way toward making merry.

Unfortunately, not everyone is eligible for the cash. The tax money belongs to 111,893 taxpayers that the tax agency would like to locate. Some of them even could be due multiple refund checks.  

"If you think you are missing a refund, the sooner you update your address information, the quicker you can get your money," said IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman in an announcement of the returned checks. 

If you think some of the tax refund money belongs to you, the quickest way to correct your mailing address and get your money on its way to you is to use the IRS's online refund tracking tool Where’s My Refund? at In addition to letting you check the status of your refund, the tracker, in many cases, allows taxpayers to update their contact data.

If you prefer, you can call the telephone version of Where's My Refund? at (800)829-1954.

With either refund tracking option, you'll need your Social Security number, filing status and the amount of refund shown on your 2009 return.

And while you're updating your mailing address, you also might want to consider forgoing snail mail when it comes to your 2010 tax refund. Instead, opt for direct deposit and then you won't have to worry about a lost, stolen or undelivered paper check.

Finally, the IRS warns that taxpayers should be careful about answering any e-mails that offer help recovering the returned refund checks. The IRS does not contact taxpayers by e-mail to alert them of pending refunds. Such communications are scams by identity thieves phishing for your personal information.

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December 05, 2010 at 10:50 pm

Hi, in 2009, I sold off an investment property for about 1 million and filed for a 1031 exchange but did not purchase equal value and paid $100k in capital gains tax. My question is whether or not I could file for a "good" return or receive something back from Uncle Sam due to the amount paid?
Love to hear your comment on this.
Thanks Tony