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Some tax payments ended up in S.F. Bay

The IRS is alerting taxpayers in 13 states that approximately 30,000 estimated tax payments sent to a San Francisco post office box in early September have been lost in the aftermath of a traffic accident.

Taxpayers who may be affected include:Residents of Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wyoming.

Anyone who mailed an IRS tax payment to the IRS San Francisco post office box between Sept. 1 and Sept. 11.

The accident occurred on the San Mateo Bridge near San Francisco in the early morning hours of Sept. 11 as a contract courier was delivering mail from the post office to a check-processing facility in Hayward, Calif. The IRS estimates that approximately 30,000 of the estimated 45,000 tax payments on board the vehicle — mostly Form 1040-ES quarterly estimated tax payments — were ejected into the San Francisco Bay and are not recoverable.

During September, the Hayward check-processing facility processes approximately 2 million payments. The estimated lost checks represent less than 2 percent of the total payments processed in September.

Taxpayers who may be affected should wait until Sept. 30 in case checks not affected are received and processed.

After Sept. 30, a taxpayer whose check has not cleared his or her bank should contact the IRS on its toll-free taxpayer assistance line at 1-800-829-1040. Taxpayers who contact the IRS will receive instructions regarding how and where to send a replacement check. The IRS will waive interest and penalties for affected taxpayers.

The IRS intends to send a notice to potentially affected taxpayers who have previously mailed estimated tax payments to the San Francisco post office box. The notice will include specific instructions, if necessary, for sending in a replacement check.

Taxpayers will have 30 days from notification to send a replacement check.