US Expat Tax News: The IRS has $153 Million in Undelivered Refunds

Undelivered Tax Refunds

Those who complain about owing on their expatriate tax return when tax season comes around are only going to be more upset by a statement released by the IRS stating that they have more than $150 million in undelivered refunds. If you have not filed your expatriate tax return, now is a good time!

Accounting Today recently explained how the IRS found themselves in this situation in the article “IRS Stuck with $153.3 Million in Undelivered Returns.

Why the IRS is Stuck with Refunds

There are a few reasons why the IRS has found itself with these undelivered refunds; that being said, this has become a bit of an annual habit for the IRS.

“In what has turned into an annual ritual for the service, the IRS said it has a fortune waiting in its coffers that could not be delivered to taxpayers because of mailing address errors. Taxpayers can still claim their refunds, though, and can probably use a little help from their accountants. The average size of an undelivered refund check this year is $1,547.”

The IRS has refund checks that are returned as undelivered, or they are lost or stolen in the mail every year. That being said, you can imagine the likelihood of losing a return in the mail is higher when international mail services are involved. While none of the undelivered returns is intentional, typos, sloppy returns or other data entry mistakes can lead to refunds being sent to a nonexistent or incorrect address.

How to Avoid Losing Your Expatriate Tax Return Refund

The IRS is always encouraging taxpayers to take advantage of e-filing and deposit options that are available to taxpayers around the globe. This is important for those filing an expatriate tax return. With e-filing and electronic deposit options for refunds, the worries of losing an expatriate tax return or refund in the mail could be non-existent.

“…taxpayers can put an end to lost, stolen or undelivered checks by choosing direct deposit when they file their tax returns, either on paper or electronically. Last year, more than 78.4 million taxpayers chose to receive their refund through direct deposit. Taxpayers can receive refunds directly through their bank account, split a tax refund into two or three financial accounts, or more recently buy a savings bond with the money.”

Does the IRS Owe Me a Refund?

The IRS does not notify taxpayers whose returns have been returned to them, as these messages often fall victim to phishing scams. While the IRS is not trying to keep money that is not rightfully theirs, they are also not trying to put their, or their taxpayers’ money, at risk. The only way to find out is to file an expatriate tax return.

“The agency urges taxpayers who receive such messages not to release any personal information, reply, open any attachments or click on any links to avoid malicious code that can infect their computers. The best way for an individual to verify if she or he has a pending refund is by going directly to the IRS’s Web site,, and using the “Where’s My Refund?” tool”

Does the IRS owe you a refund? If you think the IRS owes you a refund from your expatriate tax return, it is suggested that you use the tools available on the IRS website.

More Expatriate Tax Return Advice

Read more about correctly filing an expatriate tax return here. If you have any other questions regarding expatriate tax returns, or if you would like to learn more about our expat tax services, please contact us.