The Internal Revenue service has more than a hundred million dollars it would like to give deserving taxpayers.
Exactly 99,123 taxpayers are owed a total of $153.3 million in tax refunds, but the IRS is unable to give them the money due to various mailing address errors, CNNMoney reports. That sum may be less than 0.01 percent of all refunds handed out, but it's a significant amount for many of the recipients themselves, as the average refund check runs around $1,547.
It's likely a significant number of those not obtaining their tax returns don't have a bank account or rely on a so-called alternative financial institution, according to ABC News. A BankRate.com poll that found Americans most often plan to use tax returns to pay down debt, indicating a degree of financial vulnerability, would seem to support that claim.
These IRS tax returns aren't the only funds sitting unclaimed with the U.S. government, however. In fact, there's roughly $33 billion worth of unclaimed funds sitting in state treasuries and other agencies overall, according to the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators, MarketWatch reports. In New York, for example, there is $1.7 million that has yet to be claimed by the appropriate individual. But for low-income earners, especially the half of American workers that make less than $27,000 dollars, not obtaining any unclaimed funds is an especially tough blow.
And while nearly half of American tax filers paid no income taxes this year, it's not safe to assume that includes only low- and -middle-income Americans. The IRS earlier this year revealed that 1,470 Americans with incomes of $1 million or more paid nothing in income taxes in 2009. Some billionaires are similarly taxed a rate of less than 1 percent of their incomes.
With the federal deficit an ever-present issue in Washington, calls for higher taxes on the wealthy have grown louder, even from millionaires themselves. In August, Warren Buffett called for higher taxes on the super-rich in a New York Times op-ed, in which he also said he pays a lower tax rate than his secretary. Most agree with the Oracle of Omaha: 64 percent of Americans support raising taxes on millionaires, according to a recent poll.
In the meantime there are resources available for those who're missing their tax refunds, with every state featuring an online resource for people to find missing funds, MarketWatch reports. Likewise, the IRS offer the "Where's My Refund?" tool on its website, designed to get refunds back to Americans.