North Carolina’s State Employees’ Credit Union stepped in last week when the IRS issued an alert seeking help distributing $123.5 million in refunds that were returned to the agency. In an Nov. 5 alert, the IRS said 107,831 refund checks totaling $123.5 million have been returned by the U.S. Postal Service because of mailing address errors. Undeliverable refund checks averaged $1,148 this year, compared to $990 last year, the agency said, adding some taxpayers are due more than one check. Jim Blaine, president/CEO of $18 billion State Employees’ CU, asked if the IRS could download a data file of social security numbers so that the cooperative could check it against the records of its more than 1.5 million members. “We can then tell our members they might need to call the IRS to check it out. We will do this at no fee to SECU members or the IRS,” Blaine said. The agency said it cannot share social security numbers with anyone other than the taxpayer. Still, IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman said the agency is “eager to get this money into the hands of taxpayers.” If a refund check is returned undeliverable, taxpayers can generally update their addresses with the “Where’s My Refund?” tool on The IRS said average undeliverable refunds rose by 16% this year. Several changes in tax law likely played a role in boosting refunds, including the First-Time Homebuyer’s Credit and the Recovery Rebate Credit, among others, the agency said. Taxpayers are encouraged to choose direct deposit when they file their returns because it eliminates lost, stolen or undeliverable checks, according to the IRS.

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Peter Westerman


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