Undelivered Tax Refunds:

IRS' Handling of Undelivered Income Tax Refund Checks

T-GGD-94-186: Published: Sep 26, 1994. Publicly Released: Sep 26, 1994.

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GAO discussed the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) handling of undelivered income tax refunds. GAO noted that: (1) IRS takes various steps to ensure that taxpayers receive their refunds; (2) in 1992, about 279,000 refunds were initially returned to IRS as undeliverable; (3) undeliverable refunds are caused by taxpayers moving and leaving no forwarding address, the Postal Service not delivering or forwarding refund checks, and IRS incorrectly recording taxpayers' addresses; (4) IRS follows procedures to locate addresses for taxpayers and notify taxpayers of undelivered refunds; (5) by August 1993, IRS was able to resolve over 251,000 undeliverable 1992 refunds; (6) about 28,000 undelivered refunds, totalling $12.4 million, were not resolved as of August 1993; (7) IRS credits taxpayers' accounts for undelivered income tax refunds; (8) IRS is acting responsively in its handling of undelivered income tax refunds; and (9) further responsibility for obtaining refunds should shift to the taxpayers.

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