Looking to pick up some extra cash for the holiday shopping season? The Internal Revenue Service may wind up playing St. Nick with millions worth of 2011 tax refunds still waiting to be delivered.
AkronNewsNow's searchable database lets you see if you have some holiday cash waiting for you from Uncle Sam.
Link to AkronNewsnow searchable database page
It's quite a take nationwide, with more than $153.3 million dollars still uncollected. In Ohio alone that number is more than $1.86 million dollars. We've built an interactive database where you can search by county, last name, city or zip code used to file your return to see if your name makes the list. In Summit County, nearly 90 taxpayers have average checks worth about $760 dollars coming to them but they need to contact the IRS.
If you filed outside the state of Ohio, you can still check the national IRS database using the IRS's "Where's My Refund" tool online.
Internal Revenue Service - news release
In an annual reminder to taxpayers, the Internal Revenue Service announced today that it is looking to return $153.3 million in undelivered tax refund checks. In all, 99,123 taxpayers are due refund checks this year that could not be delivered because of mailing address errors.
Undelivered refund checks average $1,547 this year. Taxpayers who believe their refund check may have been returned to the IRS as undelivered should use the "Where's My Refund?" tool on IRS.gov.
The tool will provide the status of their refund and, in some cases, instructions on how to resolve delivery problems.
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.
While only a small percentage of checks mailed out by the IRS are returned as undelivered, taxpayers can put an end to lost, stolen or undelivered checks by choosing direct deposit when they file either paper or electronic returns. Last year, more than 78.4 million taxpayers chose to receive their refund through direct deposit. 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. The IRS also recommends that taxpayers file their tax returns electronically, because e-file eliminates the risk of lost paper returns. E-file also reduces errors on tax returns and speeds up refunds. Nearly 8 out of 10 taxpayers chose e-file last year. E-file combined with direct deposit is the best option for taxpayers to avoid refund problems; it’s easy, fast and safe.
The public should be aware that 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. Such messages are common phishing scams. The agency urges taxpayers receiving 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 going directly to IRS.gov and using the “Where’s My Refund?” tool.
Keeping up with the times can be daunting for any group -- profit or non-profit. Keeping up with the paperwork can be even more of a challenge.
LOVE Akron, Inc. is a faith-based organization founded by a group of Christian Akron-area pastors to help foster collaboration and fellowship. Imagine the surprise when they learned they'd made an Internal Revenue Service listing that included more than 13,000 other Ohio non-profit organizations in danger of automatically losing their tax-exempt status for failing to file the correct paperwork for three years.
A searchable database of the more than 1,200 organizations in the greater Akron-Canton area is found here in our original coverage of the IRS listing. The list included some eye-opening names, including various Fraternal Order of Police, Knights of Columbus, dozens of church-related groups as well as a host of youth athletic league chapters across Summit, Portage, Medina, Stark and Wayne Counties.
Mark Ford, executive director of LOVE Akron, was among those organizations calling to let AkronNewsNow know they were working to resolve any paperwork problems with the IRS. Ford says their records show the Form 990-EZ paperwork was compiled but the IRS told the non-profit the reports weren't received. Ford says the IRS has been "very helpful" in working to resolve the issue, and had some words of advice for other groups finding themselves on the list.
Make sure the paperwork is treated seriously, compiled correctly and filed on-time. Ford adds it doesn't hurt to make sure such important documents make their way to their intended government agency via registered mail, too.
You may have seen the story from the Internal Revenue Service announcing thousands of Ohio groups in danger of losing their tax-exempt status; now see the list of groups and organizations in the Akron area on the hit-list.
There are more than 1,200 on the local listing, many with names you'll recognize, out of more than 13,300 statewide on the IRS hit-list of non-profits that are due to lose their tax-exempt status because they haven't filed the paperwork or are out of business.
SEE database of area organizations making the IRS list
There are 386 non-profits alone listing an Akron address, including high-profile names such as the St. Vincent St. Mary Band Boosters; the Akron University Police Patrolmen Association; Delta Sigma Theta Sorority; Kenmore Youth Football; the Knights of Columbus; Sacred Heart Church; the Akron Rugby Football Club; the American Legion; Ancient Order of Hibernians; Black Law Enforcement Officers; Ellet Womens Club; Firestone Park Garden Club; Fraternal Order of Police chapters; Greater Akron Police Athletic Club; the International Soap Box Derby; Kenmore Amateur Baseball Federation; the Lighter Than Air Society; Patterson Park Peewee Football; Phi Sigma Alpha at the University of Akron; Mogadore Christian Academy; North Akron Civic Association; Theta Zeta of Delta Zeta House; Tri-County Softball; Zeta Phi Beta Sorority.
The database notes organizations that would have been notified by this past June; in some cases, it might be a simple paperwork glitch. Dave Osterland, chairman of the board of the Lighter Than Air Society, tells AkronNewsNow it was his understanding his group had two tax-exempt numbers and is properly operating under the number which is up-to-date.
Canton, Kent, Cuyahoga Falls, Clinton, Medina, Ravenna, Sagamore Hills, Hudson, Twinsburg, Macedonia, Tallmadge, Green, North Canton and other communities also had groups on the list. Many work with youth sports groups but also local civic organizations such as American Legion, Order of the Eagles, even Fraternal Order of Police.
“Concerted effort was made to notify organizations of their annual filing requirements,” said IRS spokeswoman Jennifer Jenkins. “Therefore, we believe that the majority of these organizations are defunct, and possibly have been so for awhile. However, for any organizations that lost tax-exempt status but are still in business, we want them to know of the special steps available to help them to apply for reinstatement of their tax-exempt status.”
Virtually every corner of the Akron-Canton-Wooster-Ravenna corridor has listings that include schools, youth athletic programs, unions, public service associations, religious groups, and organizations established to support worthy public activities and interests.
The Internal Revenue Service notes organizations get on the list for failing to file the proper documents for three consecutive years. The new law went into effect for small non-profits in 2007 but there are 13,300 organizations on the IRS auto-revoke list in Ohio, which means any income those groups take in could be listed as taxable and not eligible for tax-exempt status claimed by the donor.
The IRS does provide methods and help for organizations to recover their tax-exempt status.
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