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Undelivered and unclaimed tax refund checks

Every year, millions of federal and state tax refunds go undelivered or unclaimed. Learn how to claim your refund if you did not file a return or if your check never got to you.

Undelivered federal tax refunds

If your refund never arrived

If you were expecting a federal tax refund and did not receive it, check the IRS Where’s My Refund page. You will need to enter your Social Security number, filing status, and the exact whole dollar amount of your refund. 

If you cannot get your refund status after checking online

You can also call the IRS to check on the status of your refund. Wait times to speak with a representative can be long. But you can avoid waiting by using the automated phone system. Follow the message prompts when you call.

If you moved after filing your return

Refund checks are mailed to your last known address. If you move without notifying the IRS or the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), your refund check may be returned to the IRS. Submit a Change of Address Form 8822 to the IRS. You should also submit a change of address to the USPS.

You may be entitled to an unclaimed federal tax refund

If you are eligible for a federal tax refund but do not file a return, your refund will go unclaimed. Even if you are not required to file a return, it might benefit you to file if:

You may not have filed a tax return because your wages were below the filing requirement. But you can still file a return within three years of the filing deadline to get your refund.

State tax refunds

For information about your state tax refund, contact your state revenue department.

LAST UPDATED: July 19, 2023


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