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Time Expiring to Claim $760 Million in Refunds for 2010 Tax Returns

IRS Special Edition Tax Tip 2014-09, March 21, 2014

If you did not file a tax return for 2010, you may be one of over 900,000 taxpayers who may be due a refund from that year. If you are, you must claim your share of almost $760 million by the April 15 tax deadline. To claim your refund, you must file a 2010 federal income tax return. Here are the facts you need to know about unclaimed refunds:

  • The unclaimed refunds apply to people who did not file a federal income tax return for 2010. The IRS estimates that half the potential refunds are more than $571.

  • Some people, such as students and part-time workers, may not have filed because they had too little income to require filing a tax return. They may have a refund waiting if they had taxes withheld from their wages or made quarterly estimated payments. A refund could also apply if they qualify for certain tax credits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit.

  • If you didn’t file a 2010 return, the law generally provides a three-year window to claim a refund from that year. For 2010 returns, the window closes on April 15, 2014.

  • The law requires that you properly address, mail and postmark your tax return by that date to claim your refund.

  • If you don’t file a claim for a refund within three years, the money becomes property of the U.S. Treasury. There is no penalty for filing a late return if you are due a refund.

  • The IRS may hold your 2010 refund if you have not filed tax returns for 2011 and 2012. The U.S. Treasury will apply the refund to any federal or state tax you owe. It also may use your refund to offset unpaid child support or past due federal debts such as student loans.

  • If you’re missing Forms W-2, 1098, 1099 or 5498 for prior years, you should ask for copies from your employer, bank or other payer. If you can’t get copies, get a free transcript showing that information by going to IRS.gov. You can also file Form 4506-T to get a transcript.

  • The three-year window also usually applies to a refund from an amended return. In general, you must file Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, within three years from the date you filed your original tax return. You can also file it within two years from the date you paid the tax, if that date is later than the three-year rule. That means the deadline for most people to amend their 2010 tax return and claim a refund will expire on April 15, 2014.

Current and prior year tax forms and instructions are available on IRS.gov or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

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Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 07-Nov-2014