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$266 million in rebate and refund checks returned to the IRS

$266 million. That's how much money the IRS is trying to get to the appropriate taxpayers.

Most of that money is from rebate checks that the IRS is having trouble delivering.

Yep, this rebate deal is causing all sorts of headaches for the tax agency. First, it didn't send out thousands of checks because the associated returns had mismatched Social Security numbers.

This time, though, the tax man really did put the checks in the mail, but they came back because of bad addresses.

This happens every year. Usually, people file returns and move, forgetting to let Uncle Sam also know of their new location.

But this year, the undeliverable check problem is exacerbated by the added economic stimulus payment checks.

This year's totals: Currently, the IRS is holding more than 279,000 rebate checks, totaling about $163 million. It's also got back another 104,000 or so regular refund checks, totaling about $103 million.

They all were returned to the agency because of mailing address errors.

The undeliverable economic stimulus checks average $583. The regular refund checks that were returned to the IRS average $988.

Stimulus_rebate (2) Nov. 28 notification deadline: So that's where your rebate's been! Well, you can get it on its way to you by giving the IRS your correct mailing address.

Just make sure you do so by Nov. 28.

By law, the rebate checks must be sent out by Dec. 31. So the IRS has established the late-November address change cutoff date to ensure that it can update its records and meet the final mailing deadline.

How to update your address info: The IRS says the easiest way to update your address is to use the agency's online money tracking tools.

With the Where's My Stimulus Payment? tool, you can check the status of your stimulus check and receive instructions on how to update your address.

If you have friends or family still waiting for their rebates and who don't have Internet access, tell them to call the IRS at 1-866-234-2942.

Wheres_my_refund (2) If it's a regular refund you're awaiting, check the IRS' popular Where's My Refund? online tracking tool. You'll need your Social Security number, filing status and the amount of refund shown on your 2007 return.

The tool then will provide the status of your refund and, in some cases, provide instructions on how to resolve delivery problems. You'll also be given instructions on how to update your address.

Folks who must or prefer to use the phone can call the IRS at 1-800-829-1954.

In both rebate and regular refund cases, once the IRS gets the correct data, the checks will be sent. Remember, though, the November notification deadline for rebates.

Rebate or refund? If you're not sure which type of money you're expecting back from the IRS, you need to hire a personal organizer and an accountant!

Seriously, though, if that's the case, first check the status of any potential economic stimulus check you might be due since it has the Nov. 28 change deadline.

And as it does every year, the IRS takes this opportunity to encourage taxpayers to choose direct deposit when they file their return.

That way you should get your tax-back cash sooner and the IRS won't be stuck with bags of undeliverable paper checks!


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