By Johnny Jackson
Some 4,200 Georgia taxpayers are still due refund checks collectively worth more than $5 million, according to officials with the Internal Revenue Service.
Most of the checks, according to IRS Spokesman Mark Green, were returned to the IRS by the U.S. Postal Service due to mailing address errors.
"In Georgia, the average undeliverable refund is $1,233," Green said. "We'd like to get this money back to taxpayers as quickly as possible. All we need is an updated address and we can reissue the check."
The IRS reported that this year's number of returned refund checks rose by 16 percent nationwide, compared to last year. Some taxpayers, Green added, are owed more than one check.
He said the IRS received 107,831 returned refunds nationwide, worth a combined $123.5 million. The checks averaged $1,148 per check, up from the $990 per-check average a year ago.
He said changes in tax law, like the First-Time Homebuyer's Credit and the Recovery Rebate Credit, likely played a role in boosting refunds.
According to Greg Hammonds, a certified public accountant and a partner in the McDonough-based CPA firm, Robinson, Whaley, Hammonds, and Allison, P.C., various factors can result in a returned refund check, from the taxpayer's death to their unexpected relocation.
He added that most returned refunds have tended to be the result of taxpayers who have moved away without reporting a forwarding address to the IRS.
"We get all kinds of people who have not gotten their refund checks," Hammonds continued. "[And] things do get lost in the mail sometimes, which is why we encourage them, as much as possible, to do direct deposit. It's quicker, and it's more secure."
Hammonds advises that the best source for finding and tracking one's refund check is the IRS web site.
"If there is still a problem, we get involved in trying to track it, " he said. "But usually, it's as simple as that [going to the IRS web site]."
Taxpayers can find out if they are due a tax refund, or check the status of their refund, by calling 1-800-829-1954, or by visiting the IRS web site.
Green said taxpayers can ensure the IRS has their correct address by filing the Change of Address Form 8822 with the IRS through the web site, or by calling 1-800-829-3676.
On the net:
Internal Revenue Service: www.irs.gov