(Alexandria, VA) -- Roughly $92 million in holiday cash is awaiting nearly 100,000 Americans in the form of "missing" federal tax refunds, and an online database from the National Taxpayers Union (NTU) can help people locate their money more easily than the IRS's version. This is the sixth year that NTU and its research affiliate's publication Tax Savings Report have sponsored the database, available as a public service at www.ntu.org.
"Holiday shoppers shouldn't head to the mall without checking NTU's Online Tax Refund Finder first," said NTU Vice President for Communications Pete Sepp. "There just might be some forgotten money waiting to help pay those bills or get an early start on that New Year's resolution to save and invest more."
Each year, thousands of income tax refund checks are returned to the IRS as undeliverable because the taxpayer has moved, changed his or her name, or simply because the check has an incomplete or improper address. After several years of decline, both the number and amount of undelivered refunds (for tax year 2005) rose sharply in 2006, by 14 percent and 26 percent, respectively. Last year, approximately 84,000 Americans were due $73 million in unclaimed checks.
The NTU database is designed to provide the maximum flexibility of search options (by name, tax year, or state), so users can find refunds (or those of relatives and friends) that may be in limbo because of the problems described above. If they have a refund to claim, then the site directs taxpayers to the IRS toll-free number or the IRS website where they can securely arrange to receive their money. Although the IRS's website also has an interactive refund feature, the agency requires taxpayers to provide information that makes it difficult to use for citizens who aren't sure whether they have a refund coming, or who can't remember how much it might be.
"Finding an IRS refund can come in handy for the holidays, but it shouldn't be viewed as getting a 'gift' from the government," Sepp concluded. "This money represents overpayments of income taxes that deserve to be claimed by their rightful owners. NTU's Online Tax Refund Finder at www.ntu.org is one 'Returns Department' where people get rather than take something back -- their own hard-earned cash."
The 350,000-member National Taxpayers Union was founded in 1969 to work for lower taxes, smaller government, and taxpayer rights at all levels.