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Checks Await O.C. Taxpayers

IRS wants to return about $1.1 million to 1,394 people in the county -- if it just knew where to find them.

October 29, 2005|Jean O. Pasco | Times Staff Writer

About 1,400 people in Orange County are owed between $1 and $32,500, and they probably don't even know it.

The money is from federal tax refunds that the Internal Revenue Service is holding because the checks couldn't be successfully delivered.

The checks total about $1.1 million and affect 1,394 taxpayers. Some people have multiple refunds waiting for them.

"Our goal is to get this money back in the hands of the people it belongs to," IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson said in the agency's annual appeal to clear unclaimed refunds.

About 99 million of 131 million federal income tax returns processed last year received a refund, according to IRS spokesman Raphael D. Tulino.

Those with Internet access can log onto the agency's website at www.irs.gov to see if they have a refund coming. Click on "Where's My Refund?" and follow the instructions.

Those without computer access can call the toll-free assistance line at (800) 829-1040.

Once a tax return has been filed, there is no deadline for claiming a refund. Taxpayers who failed to submit a return and are still owed refunds have three years to claim the money before it reverts to the U.S. Treasury.

In Southern California, 4,652 refund checks, totaling $4 million, remain unclaimed. Nationally, unclaimed checks total $73.4 million for 84,290 taxpayers.

Most of the unclaimed refund checks were returned because they couldn't be delivered to the name and address the agency had on file.

Taxpayers can file a change of address by downloading form 8822 from the website, or calling (800) 829-3676 ([800] TAX-FORM).

Taxpayers also can avoid future refund delays by having refunds deposited directly into a personal checking or savings account.

This option, used by more than 52 million filers this year, is available for both paper and electronically filed returns. Nearly 47 million taxpayers asked for a paper check, Tulino said.

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