IRS urges people to act quickly to claim returned rebate checks

Posted: Tuesday, October 30, 2001

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Nearly 1,100 Alaskans who did not receive their tax rebate checks are being urged to contact the Internal Revenue Service to claim their checks.

The IRS began issuing the one-time tax rebate checks in July, but some were returned by the postal service as undeliverable, IRS spokeswoman Judy Monahan said Tuesday.

Most of the checks came back because they could not be mailed to the proper taxpayer. That occurs commonly when taxpayers move to a new address or change last names when they get married.

Monahan said people who don't call the IRS by Dec. 5 will be forced to wait for their rebate money until they file their 2001 income tax returns next year. The total for the returned checks for Alaska taxpayers is approximately $367,700, or an average of $336 per check.

The IRS needs to get the correct information by Dec. 5 to allow time to process the checks before Dec. 31. Federal law prohibits the agency from sending out rebate checks after the end of the year.

''All we need is a good address,'' said IRS Commissioner Charles O. Rossotti. ''As soon as we get the correct address, we'll start the check on its way.''

Those people that fail to meet the deadline won't lose their rebate money because they can claim it on their 2001 tax returns.

Nationwide, about 295,000 rebate checks worth about $95 million were returned. They represent only a fraction of 1 percent of the 85 million rebate checks mailed out as part of the 10-year, $1.35 trillion tax cut signed into law in June by President Bush.

Another 318 regular income tax refund checks for Alaskans were returned as well. Those checks averaged $1,171 apiece.

People who believe the are due a check can call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. Taxpayers can also notify the IRS about a new address by filing Form 8822, which can be downloaded from the agency's Internet Web site.

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