For a change, the IRS may have check for you
SIKESTON --The Internal Revenue Service is searching for taxpayers whose returns, for whatever reason, were undeliverable.
Currently 1,768 Missouri taxpayers are due refund checks worth $883,596. Locally, there are 21 refunds worth a total of $7,067 in Mississippi, New Madrid, Scott and Stoddard counties. The local average refund is $367.
"The IRS is normally not allowed to discuss individual taxpayers," Michael Devine, IRS spokesperson for Missouri. "This is the exception. We we want these people to get their refunds back.
The refund checks were returned as undeliverable and can be claimed as soon as their owners update their addresses with the IRS.
"We want to get this money to the people it belongs to," Devine said. "It's really a simple process. As soon as we get a corrected address, we can reissue the check."
Nationally, there is more than $110 million waiting for 115,478 taxpayers. Most refunds are from returns filed for the 2006 tax year, but some taxpayers are due refunds for more than one tax year.
So far in 2007, the IRS has processed nearly 105 million refunds, totaling about $240 billion -- either by mail or direct deposit. Undeliverable refunds account for less than one-tenth of 1 percent of all refunds, or about one in 1,000.
"Most often, refund checks are returned to the IRS because of a life change -- such as marriage or divorce -- causes an address change," Devine said. Devine said that if a taxpayer moves or changes their address and doesn't notify the IRS or U.S. Postal Service, a refund check sent to their last known address is returned to the IRS.
Taxpayers can find out if they have an undelivered tax refund by visiting the IRS Web site at www.irs.gov and clicking on "Where's My Refund." To use this feature, taxpayers enter information from their 2007 tax return. When this information is submitted online, taxpayers will see the status of their refund check, and, in many cases, they also get instructions to fix potential account problems.
Taxpayers who have moved since filing their tax return can ensure the IRS has their correct address by filing a change of address form with the IRS. Download the form from the IRS Web site at www.irs.gov or request it by calling 1-800-829-3676.
Taxpayers without access to the Internet who think they may be missing a refund check should first check their records or contact their tax preparer, then call the IRS assistance line at 1-800-829-1040 to update their addresses.
"It's easier to do online," Devine said. "You just go to our Web site and fill out the address form so we can generate a new check."
For taxpayers with an undeliverable refund who don't see this article, when they file next year, the system will match the refund to them, Devine said.
"But this way, they get it faster than having to wait until tax season," Devine said. "It's their money, and we just want to get it to them."
Devine said taxpayers can avoid undelivered tax refunds by choosing to have their refunds deposited directly into their personal checking or savings account. Direct deposit guards against delivered, lost or stolen refund checks. The option is available for both paper returns and electronically filed returns.
Albert "Dickie" Dockins III of Sikeston wasn't aware he and his wife, Kaylan, were receiving a refund this year. The couple are among those whose refunds were undelivered.
Dockins said the returned refund could be due to a number of things, especially since he's recently moved and gotten married.
Whatever the reason, he's happy to know he's got a check owed to him. "Usually, it's the other way around, and I owe," Dockins said. "It's great."
Below are the names of taxpayers from Mississippi, New Madrid, Scott and Stoddard counties who did not receive their refunds. To check the status of a refund, visit the IRS Web site at www.irs.gov and clicking on "Where's My Refund" or call the IRS automated, toll-free TeleTax system at 800-829-4477 or the IRS refund hotline at 800-829-1954.
MISSISSIPPI COUNTY: Aaron B. Black, Charleston; Andrew R. Shelby, Charleston; Jackey W. Spurlin, Bertrand
NEW MADRID COUNTY: Minnie L. Barnes, Parma; Paris T. Jones, New Madrid;
Otis L. & Edna Mathina, New Madrid
SCOTT COUNTY: Brenda J. Bryant, Sikeston; Albert and Kaylan M. Dockins III, Sikeston; Larry A. Heuiser, Sikeston; Walter Hill Jr., Sikeston; Megan Knickman, Sikeston; Ida L. Lindell, Sikeston; Paulette McDowell, Sikeston; Christina R. Ingram, Morley; Amber N. Garrard, Chaffee
STODDARD COUNTY: Russell E. and Johnnie N. Davis, Grayridge; Wilma Williamson, Essex; Marilyn S. Bratcher, Dexter; Krysta Williams, Dexter; Lara C. Ford, Bernie; Kathleen Ward, Bernie