Each year, millions of taxpayers miss out on getting money. In many cases, it's several hundred dollars. Why? Because they were due a refund, but they didn't file a tax return, and the time to claim their refund ran out. If you don't file a return claiming a refund within three years, you lose it. And the money becomes the property of the U.S. Treasury. That's three years from the original due date, usually April 15th. Now, you must file a tax return if your income is above a certain amount. The amount varies depending on your filing status, age and the type of income you receive. You may choose not to file if you don't have to. But, if you had even a small amount of income, you may be due a refund, especially if you had federal taxes withheld from your pay. Plus, you may be eligible for tax benefits like the Earned Income Tax Credit, which could be a few thousand dollars. Listen, the only way to claim this money is to file a federal income tax return. Start by visiting irs.gov/forms to get prior year and current tax forms and instructions. Or you can contact a local Volunteer Income Tax Assistance or Tax Counseling for the Elderly site near you. In many cases, these VITA and TCE sites, staffed by IRS-trained volunteers, may be able to help you prepare and file your prior year tax returns, get you up-to-date and get any refunds you're owed. For more information on VITA and TCE, visit irs.gov/vita. And remember the bottom line. It's your money, but you have to file a tax return to claim it and you only have three years. So, get started. To learn more, go to IRS.gov/unclaimedrefunds.