The IRS Has Over $1.1 Billion In Unclaimed Refunds

by Khaleef Crumbley on April 4, 2011

in Taxes

Unclaimed Refunds

The IRS has more than $1.1 Billion in unclaimed refunds for nearly 1.1 million people who did not file an income tax return for 2007. Many taxpayers may have chosen not to file a return because they did not earn enough income to require filing an income tax return, even though they had taxes withheld from their income. There are many reasons for you to file a return even when you are not required to do so.

How To Get Your Unclaimed Refunds

In order to recover your unclaimed tax refunds, you must file a return for tax year 2007. Taxpayers are given 3 years from the due date of a return in order to file – there are no late-filing penalties charged when a refund is due. Since the tax return deadline has been extended, you have until April 18, 2011 to file your 2007 return.

You may not feel like going through the trouble of filing an old return for a couple of dollars (I probably wouldn’t either), but…

The IRS estimates that half of these potential 2007 refunds are $640 or more.

If you fail to file a 2007 return by the deadline listed above, the money becomes property of the U.S. Treasury. Here is another lost benefit that you need to consider:

By failing to file a return, people stand to lose more than a refund of taxes withheld or paid during 2007. In addition, many low-and-moderate income workers may not have claimed the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The EITC helps individuals and families whose incomes are below certain thresholds, which in 2007 were $39,783 for those with two or more children, $35,241 for people with one child, and $14,590 for those with no children.

There are a few things that you must know when filing a return for tax year 2007:

  • You will not be able to file an electronic return, although you will be able to request direct deposit
  • If you did not file a tax return for 2008 or 2009, your 2007 return will not be released to you
  • Your 2007 refund will be used to satisfy any outstanding debts owed to the IRS, unpaid child support, and any delinquent federal student loans
  • To be honest, if you any of the outstanding debt mentioned above, collecting an unclaimed refund from 3 years ago would be a great way to pay it off! This way, you don’t have to worry about taking out any unsecured loans! If you don’t have any of the above, then take a look at the IRA contribution limits and prepare yourself for retirement!

    Here is some final guidance that the IRS issued in order to make this process as easy as possible:

    Current and prior year Internal Revenue Service tax forms and instructions are available on the Forms and Publications page of IRS.gov or by calling toll-free 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676). Taxpayers who are missing Forms W-2, 1098, 1099 or 5498 for 2007, 2008 or 2009 should request copies from their employer, bank or other payer. If these efforts are unsuccessful, taxpayers can get a free transcript showing information from these year-end documents by ordering on-line, calling 1-800-908-9946, or by filing Form 4506-T, Request for Transcript of Tax Return, with the IRS.

    It may be helpful to look at your last year tax return as well.

    Hopefully, a few of the 1.1 million people who are due money will read this before the deadline – be sure to share this article with everyone that you know before then ;-) !

    photo by Salvatore Vuono

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