The Internal Revenue Service may be best known as the agency responsible for collecting taxes, but the IRS is eager to give back $2.1 million to Tennessee taxpayers it can't find.
Uncle Sam's tax collectors are looking for 1,779 Tennessee filers who are due refunds that could not be delivered because of mailing errors. The IRS urges anyone thinking they are due a refund to check the IRS web site under "Where's My Refund?" at www.irs.gov/individuals/article/0,,id=96596,00.html, or call 1-800-829-1954.
The average refund check due to those Tennesseans the IRS can't locate is $1,182.
Nationwide, there are more than 99,000 undelivered refund checks collectively worth about $153 million.
IRS spokesman Dan Boone urged taxpayers worried about losing future refunds to choose a direct deposit option for their refund checks in their 2012 returns. Last year, 78.4 million taxpayers chose the direct deposit options, Boone said.
"Taxpayers can receive refunds directly into their bank account, split a tax refund into two or three financial accounts or even buy a savings bond," he said. "E-file also eliminates the risk of lost paper returns."
Boone cautioned people not to be fooled by anyone using email to try to claim they are due a tax refund.
"The IRS does not contact taxpayers by e-mail to alert them of pending refunds and does not ask for personal or financial information through email," he said. "Such messages are common phishing scams."