Dear Tax Talk,
In December 2012, I made two $15,000 prepayment checks to the IRS. I filed my taxes electronically in 2013. The IRS refunded part of one check since my liability was below $15,000. It claims the other check was never received. However, I have images of both checks, front and back, showing the IRS deposited both of them. How can I rectify this lost payment to the IRS? Thanks for your help.
— Murphy

Dear Murphy,
You will need to contact the IRS regarding this lost payment.

There are many reasons that payments go astray at the IRS and usually it is because there is not enough information on the check for it to get posted to the correct taxpayer and tax year. Did you send in the checks using Form 1040-ES? Those forms help to ensure proper posting.

I am not sure how it was communicated to you that the other $15,000 check was not received, so here is the process you should go through now.

  1. Call the IRS at 1 (800) 829-1040 and have both copies of the checks, including the front and back, available when you make the call. Somewhere on the checks appears a code for where the money went. It should be resolved with the phone call.
  2. If somehow it is still not resolved, I would visit your local IRS office, as the staff is there to help you.

Yes, you will probably have to take a number and wait your turn, and it will take some of your valuable time to do that. But hey, $15,000 is well worth the jaunt. Once again, take the copies of the checks, but make sure you keep your own copies, too. The good news is that you may be due some interest if it is determined that there is an overpayment that belongs to you.

Thanks for the question and good luck on your quest for the missing money.

Ask the adviser

To ask a question on Tax Talk, go to the “Ask the Experts” page and select “Taxes” as the topic. Read more Tax Talk columns.

To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the IRS, we inform you that any U.S. federal tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein. Taxpayers should seek professional advice based on their particular circumstances.

Bankrate’s content, including the guidance of its advice-and-expert columns and this website, is intended only to assist you with financial decisions. The content is broad in scope and does not consider your personal financial situation. Bankrate recommends that you seek the advice of advisers who are fully aware of your individual circumstances before making any final decisions or implementing any financial strategy. Please remember that your use of this website is governed by Bankrate’s Terms of Use.