It may take significant effort to track down your tax refund check if you move and don't change your address before you file a federal tax return. Refund checks aren't always forwarded to prevent the checks from being stolen if they end up in the wrong hands. Therefore, your refund may be held until you contact the IRS to verify your address.
The Internal Revenue Service automatically sends taxpayer refund checks to the taxpayer's new addresses if he changes his addresses before filing a tax return. One of the easiest ways to change an address with the IRS is to write the new address in the appropriate section of the federal tax return. According to the IRS, taxpayers' new addresses are updated in their files when the returns are processed.
Those who change their addresses after they file their federal tax returns may have a tougher time getting their refund checks. Submit form 8822 to the IRS to change an address with the agency. Still, you may run into a problem when it comes to your local post office. The IRS warns taxpayers that not all post offices forward government checks. That's true even if you have submitted a change-of-address form at your post office.
Post offices that don't forward government checks send the checks back to the IRS as undeliverable mail. In such cases, taxpayers have to track down their checks themselves. Start your search on the IRS website in the "Where's My Refund?" section of the site. Enter your Social Security number, filing status and refund amount in that section to track your refund check. The system may allow you to change your mailing address online if your search results indicate that your post office returned your check to the IRS. Otherwise, you will have to contact the IRS directly to claim your refund check.
You may write to the IRS to change your address if you don't have access to the agency's change-of-address form. In such cases, you need to send the agency your full name, former and new addresses, Social Security number and your signature. Spouses who file joint tax returns need to send the same information for both spouses. Send your change-of-address information to the address where you sent your last federal tax return.