Unclaimed Tax Refunds May be Owed to You
U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown
Good communication is important, and poor communication can be costly. Unfortunately, miscommunication between Washington and Ohio could cost families in Wilmington and Orville up to $3,700 next year.
As the New Year quickly approaches, it’s critical that Ohio families are aware of the unclaimed tax refunds that may be owed to them by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Often times, inaccurate addresses have caused these funds to be returned by the U.S. Postal Service. And in fact, last year, more than 2,000 Ohioans were eligible to claim tax refunds. In 2011, undelivered refund checks were worth more than $1,500 on average.
Ohioans have always worked hard and played by the rules. But every year, millions of Americans don’t receive their tax returns because of postal errors. Taxpayers deserve to easily receive the money that the government owes them, and shouldn’t lose money just because their checks got lost in the mail.
Fortunately, claiming a tax refund is an easy process if you are eligible. According to the IRS, if a refund check is returned to the IRS as undelivered, taxpayers can generally update their addresses with the “Where’s My Refund?” tool on IRS.gov. The Tool also enables taxpayers to check the status of their refunds. A taxpayer must submit his or her Social Security number, filing status, and amount of refund shown on their 2011 return. The tool will provide the status of their refund and, in some cases, instructions on how to resolve delivery problems.
Ohio taxpayers checking on a refund over the phone will receive instructions on how to update their addresses. Taxpayers can access a telephone version of “Where’s My Refund?” by calling 1-800-829-1954. They can also go to the Where’s My Refund? online tool to check the status of their refund by clicking on https://sa1.www4.irs.gov/irfof/lang/en/irfofgetstatus.jsp.
Ohioans can also take two simple steps to avoid the risk that their refund could get lost in the mail. They can start by signing up to have their tax returns directly deposited to their bank accounts, eliminating the potential for postal errors. Next, they can file their taxes electronically. In addition to reducing the potential for miscommunication, e-filing reduces errors on tax returns and speeds up the refund process.
Protecting Tax Cuts
But while ensuring Ohio families receive the refunds they are owed is important, it’s also crucial that we fight to guarantee middle class families across the country don’t see their taxes rise altogether.
Right now, taxes will automatically rise for all Americans on January 1 unless Congress acts.
Both the President and I campaigned on maintaining tax rates for 99 percent of Ohio families, and on November 6th, you strongly supported this position. But, more than a month later, some conservative politicians in Washington still haven’t gotten the message. They are still protecting the wealthiest one percent, at the expense of the middle class.
In July, the Senate passed the Middle Class Tax Cut Act, which would prevent 99 percent of Ohio families – and all Americans making less than $250,000 per year – from paying higher taxes. Under the bill, the median income Ohio households would save an average of $2,200 on their taxes next year. Leaders in the House of Representatives have failed to schedule a vote on the bill – in part, because it asks the wealthiest two percent of American households to pay the same tax rates they paid during the Clinton years, when our economy added 22 million jobs. It’s time for the House of Representatives to stop holding hostage middle class tax cuts and pass the bill.
It’s our duty to ensure that taxes will not go up for the millions of Ohioans who wake up early, send their children off to school, keep our assembly lines productive, tend to our vast agricultural areas, and stand up behind a counter serving customers for eight hours or more each day.
Let’s move forward with our economic recovery and ensure that Ohioans have the resources they need to support their families. By accessing unclaimed tax credits, and providing tax cuts that bolster middle class families, we can continue to make our country stronger.