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Average Refund Totals $871

POSTED: 2:51 pm EDT October 25, 2005
UPDATED: 3:03 pm EDT October 25, 2005

WASHINGTON -- Thousands of taxpayers have not received their 2004 tax refunds because the Internal Revenue Service doesn't know where to send the money.

The IRS said Tuesday that $73 million in tax refunds could not be delivered because the tax agency could not find the taxpayers who are owed the money.

The IRS said most refunds become undeliverable due to a life change such as a marriage, divorce or a change of address that was never reported.

The $73 million in tax refunds belongs to 84,290 taxpayers, some of whom have more than one check waiting to be claimed.

The IRS said that the average amount owed to each taxpayer is $871.

"Our goal is to get this money back in the hands of the people it belongs to," said IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson.

Everson said it's easy for taxpayers to go online and claim their share of the $73 million in refunds that couldn't be delivered.

He said just go to and click on "Where's My Refund?" -- a site that provides taxpayers with information about their refunds.

Taxpayers should be prepared to provide their Social Security number, filing status (such as single or married filing jointly), and the refund amount shown on their 2004 tax return.

Taxpayers without Internet access can call (800) 829-1040 to claim a refund that never arrived.

Taxpayers who have moved since filing their last tax return and want to make sure the IRS has the correct address can fill out Form 8822, available on the IRS Web site or by calling (800) TAX-FORM.

In the case of Gulf Coast residents affected by Hurricane Katrina, the IRS said it would speed up searches for missing refund checks and issue a new check when the original cannot be found.

The IRS said hurricane victims who had been expecting a refund check but did not receive one, should call the special Katrina disaster line at (866) 562-5227.
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