Currently, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is holding $164.6 million owed to taxpayers because of unclaimed funds from tax returns. This is mostly due to checks being returned by the US Postal Service because of incorrect addresses. Or your refund may have become lost, damaged, or stolen. Here are the steps you can follow to see if you are owed a refund.
Call the IRS
The IRS currently has a hot-line to find out information regarding unclaimed refunds. The number is (800) 829-1954. The IRS refund hot line is staffed Monday through Friday from 7am until 10 pm except for federal holidays. If you call before or after these hours, you will only get an automated response. Have information such as your Social Security Number or Taxpayer Identification Number, amount and year of refund in question, and filing status handy.
Log on to the IRS website
The Where’s My Refund part of the IRS website is the place to go to track down a missing refund. As stated above, you will need your Social Security Number or Taxpayer Identification Number, filing status, and whole dollar amount of your refund. Please note that the website can only track your refund from the year before. Also, as soon as you file for the current year, the previous year will be gone. If your refund has been lost for more than a year, you will have to call the IRS hot line for unclaimed refunds at (800) 829-1954 for help.
Other Important Information
Please keep in mind that you will never receive an email from the IRS stating that you have an unclaimed refund. If you do receive such an email, it is a scam. Do not respond and do not give out personal information. This could be part of an identity theft scam or a way to infect your computer with a virus.
If possible, file your returns electronically to reduce the risk of lost returns. To also reduce the risk of lost refunds, choose to receive your refund by direct deposit. Not only are these ways easy and safe, they are the fastest way to receive your refund.
If you do submit a paper copy of your taxes, make sure the address that you want your refund mailed back to is current and correct.
There is no deadline for claiming the federal tax refunds.
State Tax Refund
If your address was incorrect for your federal tax refund, chances are your state tax refund may be also. You will have to go to the website for your state’s government to find out. Do a quick search like (state name) lost tax refund. Bear in mind that the way your state handles unclaimed returns may be different than the way the federal government does. For instance, after a year your unclaimed state tax refund may go into the unclaimed property pool and you will have to file a claim through another division of government. Your state may be partnered with Missing Money.com so check there for more information.
Missing Money (for state refunds)