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Let the IRS help purchase your presents

How much do you plan to spend on Black Friday, the traditional big shopping day following Thanksgiving?

If it's around $900 and you're one of 95,746 select taxpayers across the nation, then you might just be in luck when it comes to paying for those presents.

That's how many folks the IRS is trying to give money to. Actually, the money is theirs to begin with. The tax collector wants to hand over their refund checks that bounced back as undeliverable.

The total unclaimed money sitting in the government's bank account: $92.2 million. The average refund comes to $963.

Amazingly, this happens every year. People file their returns and then move before the check arrives. And because they didn't tell the tax man where they were going, the check gets sent back to the IRS.

Now I can see how the IRS isn't on the top of your list of folks you send out your new address to when you move. But I know that if I were expecting a check from Uncle Sam and it never arrived, I'd sure be bugging him to find out what happened.

Wheres_my_refund_2_1 If some of the undelivered cash is yours, you can use the IRS' "Where's My Refund?" online tracking system to have the money remailed. You'll need to enter your Social Security number, filing status and the amount of the refund shown on your tax return. During the tracking process, a new feature will now let you change your address so you'll get your rerouted refund sooner.

Or if you prefer, call the IRS at 1-800-829-1954. You can find out if your refund was returned and while you can't change your address over the phone, you will be given instructions on how to get the cash sent to your new whereabouts.

Remember, any time you move you need to let the IRS know by sending in Form 8822. If you're trying to stay off the IRS radar for some questionable tax moves you made, moving without letting the agency know will delay their discovery of you, but it's a good bet that they'll eventually find you.

And if you didn't let Uncle Sam know simply because, well, he's not in your MySpace friends list, you should inform him. It's the only way you can get your rightful refund.

Read more about undelivered refunds and find tips on getting your future tax money more quickly in this story I wrote for


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Rob Carlson

If Uncle Sam wants your money, he'll get it one way or another, whether you bait and switch with a temporary checking account or not.


I don't understand why people don't elect to direct deposit their refunds anyway. If you're afraid of them taking it back, open a savings account with a new bank for long enough for your refund to be deposited, then move your cash and close the account. You get the money a lot faster and you don't have to worry about it being lost or stolen.
We had people get RALs and RACs who never ever came to collect them, even after repeated calls. I thought if they were desperate to get the money so quickly, they'd at least show up to get the checks. Guess not.

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