The Wallet Pop website reported the Internal Revenue Service had $1.1 billion in unclaimed tax refunds in 2007. If you have improperly filed your return or did not file a return at all, some unclaimed tax money may be yours. There are a number of ways to check the status of your return.
Checking Your Refund Online
The IRS prefers that you use the "Where's My Refund?" tool on its website to locate your refund. You will need your Social Security number, filing status and exact amount of your refund handy. Once you enter this information, click submit, and the website will tell you the status of your refund.
Checking Your Refund By Phone
If you are unable to use the Internet tool to search for your refund, you may also call the IRS office to get refund information. For individuals, the number is 800-829-1040, and the line operates between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Checking Your Refund In Person
If you prefer to discuss your refund face to face, the IRS operates a number of Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TAC). You can use the IRS Office Locator tool to find the nearest TAC.
If you don't contact the IRS about your refund, your 2011 refund will be applied to your 2012 tax return. If you owe money in 2012, your 2011 refund will be deducted from that amount. If you are owed a refund in 2012, your 2011 refund will be added to that amount.
In an effort to save money, the IRS no longer mails paper tax return forms to taxpayers. The IRS would prefer that you file your returns electronically, as this reduces errors significantly. However, if you wish to file your return on paper, you can obtain the forms from libraries and other community sites as well as ordering them from the IRS website.
- PennLine: Didn't Get Your Tax Refund? The IRS Is Looking for You; Dan Miller; November 2009
- Internal Revenue Service: Where's My Refund?
- Internal Revenue Service: Telephone Assistance
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- Wallet Pop: $1.1 Billion in Unclaimed Tax Refunds -- Could Some Be Yours?; Kelly Phillips Erb; March 24, 2011
- aChristian Science Monitor: Tax forms will not be mailed out this year, says IRS; Carole Feldmn; January 2011
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Molly Edwin holds a master's degree in political science and has spent the past few years creating publications for a large, public university. She has been blogging since 2008 and also contributes to a number of online communities.