The IRS has money for more hundreds of thousands of taxpayers whose income tax refund or child tax credit checks were undelivered and returned to the agency. Taxpayers need to update their addresses before the IRS can reissue the checks, which total more than $118 million.

In addition to the 115,744 child credit checks worth more than $50 million, there were another 92,810 “regular” tax refund checks, those issued to refund tax overpayments, returned to the IRS as undelivered. These “regular” refund checks total more than $66 million — an average of $722 per check.

The IRS’s web site,, lets taxpayers track both their refund and their advance child tax credit. “Where’s My Refund?” provides information about refunds and “Where’s My Advance Child Tax Credit?” provides information about the tax credit. Both are available on the IRS home page.

To use the resources on, taxpayers enter information including their Social Security number and their filing status (such as single or married filing jointly). In addition, the refund amount shown on last year’s tax return is required for refunds. To get information on the advance child tax credit, taxpayers must also enter the number of exemptions shown on last year’s tax return.

When the information is submitted online, taxpayers see Web pages that show the status of their refund or advance child tax credit check. In many cases, they also get instructions they need to resolve problems. All the IRS needs is a good address to sent the check to.

Taxpayers without access to the Internet who think they may be missing a refund or advance child tax credit check should first check their records or contact their tax preparer before calling the IRS toll-free assistance line at 1-800-829-1040 to update their address.

Taxpayers can avoid undelivered refund checks by having their refunds deposited directly into a personal checking or savings account. Direct deposit also guards against theft or lost refund checks. The option is available on both paper returns and electronically filed returns. More than 44 million taxpayers chose direct deposit this filing season, up 11.6 percent from last year. Direct deposit was not available for the advance child tax credit checks.

Refund checks go astray for reasons that can vary with each taxpayer. Often, it’s because a life change causes an address change. If taxpayers move or change their address and fail to notify the IRS or the U.S. Postal Service, a check sent to their last known address is returned to the IRS. The Postal Service says more than 40 million Americans change addresses annually.

Taxpayers who have moved since filing their last tax return can ensure the IRS has their correct address by filing the proper IRS Form for change of address with the IRS.

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