Act now to receive checks

Act now to receive checks The Internal Revenue Service is urging 264 South Dakotans whose federal income tax refund or 2003 advance child tax credit payment checks were returned to the agency to act now so their checks can be processed and mailed to them during the next few weeks.

The IRS list of undelivered checks this year includes 153 advance child tax credit payment checks that the IRS began mailing to South Dakota families in late July. Taxpayers who want to receive replacement checks this year must contact the IRS by Dec. 5, the agency says. After the Dec. 5 cut-off, taxpayers cannot claim the checks until they file their 2003 tax returns next year.

If you think you may be missing a refund or an advance payment, first check your records or contact your tax preparer, the IRS advises. Then, you can use the IRS Web

site � www.irs.gov � to

start the process for getting

a replacement check. If you

are missing a 2003 advance

child tax credit payment, click

on the "Where's My Advance

Child Tax Credit?" link on the

IRS web site (the direct link is http://www.irs.gov/individuals/article/0,,id=111546,00.html). If you are missing a regular federal tax refund, go to the "Where's My Refund?" link at http://www.irs.gov/individuals/article/0,,id=96596,00.html.

"Our Web site makes it easy for taxpayers to track undelivered checks," said IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson. "Our goal is to get this money back in the hands of the people it belongs to, and we want to get the checks out as soon as possible."

Alternatively, taxpayers can call the IRS toll-free at 1-800-829-1040. Replacement checks are not issued by local IRS offices. Instead, they are mailed several weeks after a person contacts the agency.

Undelivered checks in South Dakota range in size from as little as $1 to as much as $8,847.59 the average check is $495.83. a number of taxpayers are due refunds for more than one tax year. According to the IRS, some of the undelivered checks are for deceased taxpayers.

There are many reasons why a refund check might not reach a taxpayer, the IRS says. Most often, a person moves and the refund comes back to the IRS. In these situations, the recipient often fails to notify either the IRS or the U.S. Postal Service of the move. In other cases, a check may come back because the address provided on the return is incorrect, incomplete, or illegible.

"All we need is a good address," Everson said. "As soon as we get the correct address, we can start the check on its way."

The best way to avoid a lost, stolen, or undeliverable refund is by having it deposited directly into your checking or savings account. Nationwide, more than 44 million individuals and couples chose this option this year. Direct deposit was not available for 2003 advance child tax credit payments.

Direct deposit is available regardless of whether you fill out your return yourself, have it filed electronically, or use the services of a professional tax preparer. It's also available to those who do their returns over the phone using the agency's TeleFile system.

Another way to avoid the delay of an undelivered refund is to send the agency a change of address, Form 8822, when moving. this form can be downloaded from the IRS Web site at http://www.irs. gov/ pub/irs-pdf/f8822.pdf. It can also be obtained by calling the IRS at 1-800-TAX-FORM (829-3676).

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