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IRS has $2.5 Billion for Individuals Who Failed to File 1999 Returns

IR-2003-13, Feb. 6, 2003

WASHINGTON -- Unclaimed refunds totaling more than $2.5 billion are awaiting about 1.9 million people who failed to file a 1999 income tax return, the Internal Revenue Service announced today. However, in order to collect the money, a return must be filed with an IRS office no later than April 15, 2003.

The IRS estimates that about half of those who could claim refunds would receive more than $511. Some individuals may have had taxes withheld from their wages but had too little income to require filing a tax return. Others may not have had any tax withheld but would be eligible for the refundable Earned Income Tax Credit.

“Time is running out. If you don't file a return, you can't get a refund,” said Acting Commissioner Bob Wenzel. “We urge taxpayers to double-check their records before the April 15 deadline. We want people to get the refunds they're entitled to.”

In cases where a return was not filed, the law provides most taxpayers with a three-year window of opportunity for claiming a refund. If no return is filed to claim the refund within three years, the money becomes property of the U.S. Treasury. For 1999 returns, the window closes on April 15, 2003. The law requires that these returns be properly addressed, postmarked and mailed by that date. There is no penalty assessed by the IRS for filing a late return qualifying for a refund. 

The IRS reminds taxpayers seeking a 1999 refund that their checks will be held if they have not filed tax returns for 2000 or 2001. In addition, the refund will be applied to any amounts still owed to the IRS and may be used to satisfy unpaid child support or past due federal debts such as student loans.

By failing to file a return, individuals stand to lose more than refunds of taxes withheld or paid during 1999. Many low-income workers may not have claimed the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Although eligible taxpayers may get a refund when their EITC is more than their tax, those who file returns more than three years late would be able only to offset their tax. They would not be able to receive refunds if the credit exceeded their tax.

Generally, individuals qualified for the EITC in 1999 if they earned less than $30,580 and had more than one qualifying child living with them, less than $26,928 with one qualifying child, or less than $10,200 and had no qualifying child.

Download current and prior year tax forms or call 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676). Taxpayers who need help also can call the IRS help line at 1-800-829-1040.

Below is a state-by-state breakdown of estimates for individuals who failed to file a 1999 return with a refund due.

Individuals Who Failed to File a 1999
Return and Refund Amounts (Estimated)

Location

Individuals

Median Refund

Total Refunds ($000)

Alabama

29,500

$501

$26,163

Alaska

8,800

$523

$11,610

Arizona

39,700

$444

$46,220

Arkansas

17,100

$483

$16,893

California

209,500

$472

$284,111

Colorado

31,400

$469

$44,528

Connecticut

21,200

$579

$43,372

Delaware

6,400

$493

$6,218

District of Columbia

7,700

$493

$8,914

Florida

123,800

$518

$195,707

Georgia

68,400

$489

$77,940

Hawaii

11,400

$550

$14,964

Idaho

6,600

$442

$6,197

Illinois

78,300

$558

$130,368

Indiana

38,000

$551

$45,057

Iowa

17,500

$500

$17,725

Kansas

19,200

$497

$18,405

Kentucky

19,700

$505

$20,934

Louisiana

30,000

$506

$36,252

Maine

6,300

$476

$7,869

Maryland

39,900

$509

$50,019

Massachusetts

42,100

$568

$88,823

Michigan

80,300

$554

$99,310

Minnesota

25,700

$476

$28,222

Mississippi

16,200

$454

$13,363

Missouri

37,200

$497

$37,917

Montana

4,700

$463

$4,709

Nebraska

9,000

$472

$9,399

Nevada

22,000

$481

$27,915

New Hampshire

6,900

$584

$9,875

New Jersey

60,900

$563

$94,555

New Mexico

11,700

$468

$11,866

New York

114,900

$549

$229,203

North Carolina

56,300

$451

$52,263

North Dakota

2,400

$491

$2,525

Ohio

62,500

$514

$77,318

Oklahoma

25,500

$483

$23,235

Oregon

28,800

$437

$31,069

Pennsylvania

60,600

$538

$87,613

Rhode Island

6,100

$523

$8,968

South Carolina

22,600

$445

$22,508

South Dakota

3,100

$478

$3,515

Tennessee

29,600

$519

$38,090

Texas

149,400

$543

$198,815

Utah

11,300

$444

$15,519

Vermont

2,900

$488

$3,364

Virginia

54,400

$499

$67,481

Washington

50,100

$540

$73,807

West Virginia

5,400

$552

$7,770

Wisconsin

23,600

$485

$24,409

Wyoming

2,800

$539

$3,225

Armed Forces

7,700

$585

$5,363

U.S. Possessions

1,300

$598

$1,675

Foreign Addresses

4,700

$920

$34,260

Total

1,873,100

$511

$2,547,415

 
Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 21-Feb-2014