Does the IRS have your check?

October 23, 2008 5:52:54 PM PDT
The Internal Revenue Service is looking for taxpayers who have checks coming to them. More than 19,000 economic stimulus checks totaling about $11 million and more than 8,500 regular refund checks totaling about $9 million were returned by the U.S. Postal Service due to mailing address errors.

Click here to see Excel file of New Yorkers on the list

"We want New Yorkers to get this money as soon as possible. If you think you're missing a stimulus check or tax refund, take a few minutes to go on IRS.gov or call the toll free IRS stimulus or refund Hotline," said IRS Spokesperson Kevin McKeon. "The web site is open 24/7 to help you get your check."

All a taxpayer has to do is update his or her address once. The IRS will then send out all checks due.

Stimulus Checks

It is crucial that taxpayers who are missing a stimulus check update their addresses with the IRS by Nov. 28, 2008. By law, economic stimulus checks must be sent out by Dec. 31 of this year. The New York undeliverable economic stimulus checks average $579.

The "Where's My Stimulus Payment?" tool on IRS.gov is the quickest and easiest way for a taxpayer to check the status of a stimulus check and receive instructions on how to update his or her address. Taxpayers without internet access should call 1-866-234-2942.

Regular Refunds

The regular New York refund checks that were returned to the IRS average $1,061. These checks are resent as soon as taxpayers update their address.

Taxpayers can update their addresses with the "Where's My Refund?" tool on IRS.gov. It enables taxpayers to check the status of their refunds. A taxpayer must submit his or her social security number, filing status and amount of refund shown on their 2007 return. The tool will provide the status of their refund and in some cases provide instructions on how to resolve delivery problems.

Taxpayers checking on a refund over the phone will be given instructions on how to update their addresses. Taxpayers can access a telephone version of "Where's My Refund?" by calling 1-800-829-1954.

Unsure?

Taxpayers not sure of which type of check they may be due should check on a potential economic stimulus check first because of the looming deadline. See instructions above.

For Most People

The vast majority of checks mailed out by the IRS reach their rightful owner every year. Only a very small percent are returned by the U.S. Postal Service as undeliverable.

Through September 2008, nationwide the government distributed 116 million economic stimulus payments with only about 279,000 checks being undeliverable. Meanwhile, the IRS has distributed more than 105 million regular refunds this year with only about 104,000 being undeliverable. In both cases, well under one percent of refunds or stimulus checks were undeliverable.

Avoiding Future Problems

The IRS encourages taxpayers to choose direct deposit when they file their return because it puts an end to lost, stolen or undeliverable checks. Taxpayers can receive refunds directly into personal checking or savings accounts. Direct deposit is available for filers of both paper and electronic returns.

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