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'Tis the season to let the IRS know your new address

If you moved this year and rely on the U.S. Postal Service for your interactions with the Internal Revenue Service, make sure that agency (among others) is on your list of those who are informed of your new address.

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I've always been a fan a snail mail. I know. OK, boomer.

And December is my favorite month for good old U.S. Postal Service deliveries. I like thumbing through the colorful holiday catalogs, even if I do order online when I find a gift that would be perfect for a friend, family member or myself.

I also love the annul batch of old-school Christmas cards. True, we're getting fewer every year. Part of that is changing communication methods. But we still treasure those paper cards that do arrive in our curbside box.

They are a good indicator of our mailing friends' personalities. Some are funny. Some are religious. Some are secular.

Folks who still send holiday cards also tend to include photos of their families. I'm still trying to figure out how they all have aged while the hubby and I haven't!

Annual friend updates: And, of course, a few have those annual update letters.

I look forward to them, even though they are, by their nature, braggy (though not as egregious as the parody video below).


Full disclosure. The hubby and I tend to send letters, too. But our emphasis is on entertainment, not info. In fact, we make sure not to reveal too much and don't let facts get in the way of the humorous hook we've selected for the year.

Another reason we like to get mailed paper holiday missives is that it's usually the only way we learn that our friends, and sometimes our family members, have relocated.

That's my excuse for not sending out seasonal greetings early in December. I hate it when those Christmas stamps are wasted because letters come back as undeliverable.

So I wait until we start getting cards to ensure as many of our own go to the right places.

Moving, money matters and taxes: Wrong addresses also are problem for financial reasons, including taxes.

If you've moved and didn't inform your employer(s), bank or other payers, any tax documents that are still snail mailed could go to the wrong place or be returned to sender.

That will slow down your tax filing process. If you're expecting a tax refund, it will mean that, too, will be delayed.

That's why one of the places that needs your correct new address is the Internal Revenue Service.

The federal tax agency mails more than 200 million notices and letters each year to individual and business taxpayers and their representatives. When the IRS doesn't have correct taxpayer addresses, it wastes postage and labor in the processing of undeliverable mail.

About 14.4 million pieces of mail were returned to the IRS in fiscal year 2018 because they were sent to the wrong addresses, according to a report issued this fall by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).

Wrong address USPS mailing label

That led to an overall estimated cost of $43 million, or $3 per piece of undeliverable mail.

Among the misdelivered material were, according to TIGTA, "opportunities to help taxpayers understand their tax obligations."

Notifying the IRS of a new address: So be sure to add the IRS to your seasonal mailing list.

No, you don't have to send Uncle Sam's tax collector a Christmas or other holiday card.

Instead, send the IRS Form 8822, Change of Address if you're an individual filer or, in the case of business owners, Form 8822-B, Change of Address or Responsible Party - Business.

If you filed a joint return, and are still residing with your spouse, both you and your spouse should sign the form or statement.

If you filed a joint return and you now have separate addresses, each of you should notify us of your new, separate address.

It's OK to call: Don't want to mess with paper? You can call the IRS and give the answering representative your new residential info.

You'll need to verify your identity and the address the agency has on file for you, so have ready:

  • your full name
  • your address
  • your date of birth
  • your social security number, ITIN or EIN

If your authorized representative is filing a form or written statement to change an address for you or your company, that rep must attach a copy of his/her power of attorney or Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative. Unauthorized third parties can't change a taxpayer's address.

Names matter, too: Name changes are as important as address changes.

If you changed your name due to marriage or divorce, you need to notify the Social Security Administration (SSA) so that your new name will match IRS and SSA records.

Also notify the SSA if a dependent's name has changed.

Mismatches between the names shown on a tax return and SSA records often cause, as mentioned earlier, those dreaded tax refund delays.

Finally, even though I've focused on snail mail, also make sure every entity that has a connection to your taxes has your up-to-date email address, too.

If you rely on these electronic communications, the proper email is critical to your getting tax documents, many of which will be available late this year or early in 2020.

You also might find these items of interest:

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