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IRS has $2.5 Billion for Individuals Who Failed to File a 2000 Tax Return

IR-2004-18, Feb. 9, 2004

WASHINGTON — Unclaimed refunds totaling more than $2.5 billion are awaiting nearly 2 million people who failed to file a 2000 income tax return, the Internal Revenue Service announced today. In order to collect the money, however, a return must be filed with an IRS office no later than April 15, 2004.

The IRS estimates that half of those who could claim refunds would receive more than $529. In some cases, individuals had taxes withheld from their wages, or made payments against their taxes out of self-employed earnings, but had too little income to require filing a tax return. Some taxpayers may also be eligible for the refundable Earned Income Tax Credit.

“The clock is running if you want to get your refund,” said IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson. “People who aren’t required to file sometimes overlook that they had tax withheld. Don’t wait until it’s too late. We want all taxpayers to get the refund they’re due.”

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 2000 returns, the window closes on April 15, 2004. The law requires that the return 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 2000 refund that their checks will be held if they have not filed tax returns for 2001 or 2002. 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 2000. 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 2000 if they earned less than $31,152 and had more than one qualifying child living with them, less than $27,413 with one qualifying child, or less than $10,380 and had no qualifying child.

Current and prior year tax forms are available on IRS.gov or by calling 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676). Taxpayers who need help also can call the IRS help line at 1-800-829-1040.

The table below shows a state-by-state breakdown of estimates for individuals who failed to file a 2000 return with a refund due:

Individuals Who Failed to File a 2000 Return
and Refund Amounts (Estimated)*

Location

Individuals

Median Refund

Total Refunds ($000)

Alabama

31,100

$516

$28,915

Alaska

9,100

$529

$13,264

Arizona

42,400

$455

$43,965

Arkansas

17,800

$501

$18,015

California

225,300

$496

$291,900

Colorado

32,200

$499

$41,907

Connecticut

21,900

$602

$38,774

Delaware

7,000

$521

$6,908

District of Columbia

7,800

$504

$11,770

Florida

128,700

$533

$190,191

Georgia

70,500

$500

$74,394

Hawaii

11,400

$561

$15,343

Idaho

6,900

$445

$6,749

Illinois

79,800

$575

$126,259

Indiana

38,500

$558

$42,219

Iowa

17,700

$516

$14,795

Kansas

20,000

$518

$18,950

Kentucky

20,500

$531

$21,135

Louisiana

30,500

$507

$33,599

Maine

6,900

$470

$8,829

Maryland

41,200

$527

$50,904

Massachusetts

45,300

$590

$84,454

Michigan

81,200

$567

$96,031

Minnesota

27,200

$492

$30,212

Mississippi

16,900

$467

$14,515

Missouri

39,200

$504

$40,373

Montana

4,900

$467

$4,566

Nebraska

9,300

$496

$8,902

Nevada

23,000

$500

$28,895

New Hampshire

7,400

$616

$13,989

New Jersey

63,000

$587

$96,007

New Mexico

13,300

$474

$11,486

New York

119,900

$570

$234,995

North Carolina

58,300

$469

$56,819

North Dakota

2,400

$495

$2,029

Ohio

64,600

$518

$68,621

Oklahoma

26,000

$505

$25,665

Oregon

29,000

$448

$28,248

Pennsylvania

63,700

$560

$82,245

Rhode Island

6,800

$548

$8,486

South Carolina

23,500

$457

$22,124

South Dakota

3,200

$502

$2,939

Tennessee

31,600

$523

$35,668

Texas

157,800

$563

$203,353

Utah

11,500

$457

$13,146

Vermont

3,200

$523

$4,914

Virginia

56,000

$522

$70,070

Washington

50,100

$551

$68,681

West Virginia

5,900

$546

$7,610

Wisconsin

23,400

$498

$23,692

Wyoming

3,000

$540

$4,235

Armed Forces

7,800

$641

$5,770

U.S. Possessions

1,500

$570

$1,808

Foreign Addresses

5,500

$1,000

$26,200

Total

1,952,600

$529

$2,525,533

*Excluding Earned Income Tax Credit.

 
Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 18-Aug-2012