For 2011 Taxes, Avoid the Problem of Unclaimed Federal Tax Refunds

E-File taxes for 2011 and request direct deposit to get your refund faster

One of the perennial tax questions, asked by thousands of taxpayers every year, is “When will I get my tax refund from the IRS?” For most, the refund is just slow in getting to them. But for some, their refund really is lost.

In November, over a month after the final deadline to file 2010 taxes, the IRS announced that it was in possession of $153 million in unclaimed federal tax refund checks.

99,123 taxpayers that were due a refund were without their money, thanks largely to errors on the IRS mailing addresses for the refunds that rendered the checks undeliverable. The average check amounts to the tidy sum of $1,547.

If you think your refund could be among the them, head over to and use the “Where’s My Refund” tool to check the refund status for your federal tax return. You should be able to track down your errant check and take whatever steps are necessary to expedite its delivery.

But what about 2011 taxes? How can you avoid this problem when you file taxes this year?

The first step you can take to prevent your refund from getting lost in the bowels of the Internal Revenue Service Building is to e-file.

E-filing eliminates the potential that your paper return could get lost and it reduces errors. Plus it speeds up your refund. Paper refund checks resulting from an e-filed return can get to you up to 3 weeks faster than those from a regular paper return. Last year nearly 80% of taxpayers e-filed; you should too.

Next you should request direct deposit. All of these delayed refunds are in the form of paper checks that need to be sent through the mail. You can avoid the mail entirely with direct deposit, which will place your refund directly into your bank account.

Not only is there no address to screw up, but there’s no wait either. Taxpayers typically receive refunds from direct deposit in only 8-15 days, as opposed to the 3-6 weeks that paper checks normally require. Last year 78.6 million taxpayers chose direct deposit.

Get started e-filing your 2011 tax return today on RapidTax! Choose to receive your refund via direct deposit and avoid the problem of lost refund checks entirely.

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