Have You Moved? Make Sure Your Tax Refund Follows You.

February 6, 2002

EVANSVILLE, (Ind.) -- If you've moved recently, don't forget to notify the IRS about your change of address. It's reported that each year, the post office is unable to deliver thousands of tax refund checks, and the biggest reason is that people don't inform the IRS that they've moved.

"We advise people to notify the IRS directly when they move — in addition to notifying the post office," says Greg Hoover, vice president, Atlas Van Lines. "Even though the postal service will forward mail for a year, not all post offices will forward government checks. Sometimes people forget about their refunds after they've moved, or they're not even aware they had one coming."

And while the postal service and the IRS recently began sharing address information, it might still take awhile for a check to catch up with its owner, Hoover adds. It's also possible for the IRS to make an error on a mailing address.

An IRS change of address form (Form 8822) is available on the IRS Web site at www.IRS.gov. Or people can inform the IRS of an address change by writing the new address on their tax return form or by mailing the change of address information to the service center where their last return was filed (service center addresses are listed in the tax form instructions).

"People who have moved but never notified the IRS about their address change should make sure they received that year's tax refund, if they were entitled to one," Hoover notes, suggesting also that people check with the state Department of Revenue if there's a chance that a state income tax refund never arrived at a new address.

There is no limit on how long the IRS will retain unclaimed checks for their owners. To check on any unclaimed government refunds, call the IRS information line at 1-800-tax-1040.

For the IRS guide on deducting moving expenses, call the above toll-free IRS number. To request a copy of Atlas Van Lines' brochure, "How to Deduct Moving From Your Taxes," call the nearest Atlas Van Lines agent or visit the Atlas Web site at www.atlasvanlines.com.