IRS Seeks 99,123 Taxpayers for Unclaimed Money

(William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)

The Internal Revenue Service says it is looking for 99,123 taxpayers to deliver $153.3 million in unclaimed tax refund checks due to mailing address errors.

In an annual reminder to taxpayers on Wednesday, the IRS said the undelivered refund checks average $1,547 this year.

Those who believe they have yet to receive their refund can use the IRS’ online tool, Where’s My Refund? or call the telephone version at 1-800-829-1954 for the status of their tax refunds.

The IRS suggests taxpayers file their tax returns electronically, or at least choose direct deposit through their banks to receive  refunds when they file paper or electronic tax returns.  Nearly eight out of 10 taxpayers chose to file their returns electronically through e-file last year.

The federal agency said more than 78.4 million taxpayers chose to receive their refund through direct deposit.

Taxpayers who receive refunds can split them into two or three financial accounts or buy a U.S. savings bond.

About 45,000 Americans have saved $11 million in U.S. Savings Bonds at tax time with a portion of their tax refund, with an average of $244 per family, according to the Doorways to Dreams (D2D) Fund.  The nonprofit, based in Allston, Mass., makes financial products for low and moderate income consumers and raised awareness to encourage Americans to invest a part of their return through The Tax Time Savings Bond Campaign.

Timothy Flacke, executive director of the D2D Fund, said it is likely a large number of the 99,123 taxpayers who are missing their tax refunds are more financially vulnerable — either “unbanked,” those without a bank account, or “underbanked,” those who rely on alternative financial institutions like check cashiers for banking needs.

In testing pilot programs with lower income households in the range of $0 to $45,000,  Flacke found turnover in addresses in that population is very high.

According to the D2D Fund, 73 percent of the 2011 users of the tax time savings bond policy had household incomes, or adjusted gross income, below $50,000.

The tax time savings bond plan was announced by President Obama in September 2009.