IRS Has $2 Billion for People Who Have Not Filed a 2002 Tax Return

Notice: Historical Content

This is an archival or historical document and may not reflect current law, policies or procedures.

IR-2006-31, Feb. 21, 2006

WASHINGTON — Unclaimed refunds totaling more than $2 billion are awaiting about 1.7 million people who failed to file a federal income tax return for 2002, the Internal Revenue Service announced today. However, in order to collect the money, a return for 2002 must be filed with an IRS office no later than April 17, 2006.

The IRS estimates that half of those who could claim refunds would receive more than $570. 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.

“We want people to get the refunds they're entitled to,” said IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson. “We urge taxpayers to double-check their records before the April 17th deadline. Taxpayers can’t get a refund if they don’t file a tax return.”

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 2002 returns, the window closes on April 17, 2006. 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 2002 refund that their checks will be held if they have not filed tax returns for 2003 or 2004. 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 2002. 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 what they owe in tax, those who file returns more than three years late would be able only to apply it toward the taxes they owe (if any). They would not be able to receive a refund if the credit exceeded their tax.

Generally, individuals qualified for the EITC if in 2002 they earned less than $33,178 and had more than one qualifying child living with them, earned less than $29,201 with one qualifying child, or earned less than $11,060 and had no qualifying child.

Current and prior year tax forms and instructions are available on the Forms and Publications page of this Web site 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.

A state-by-state breakdown of estimates for individuals who failed to file a 2002 return with a refund due is attached.

Individuals Who Failed to File a 2002 Return with Estimated Refunds*

 

Location

Individuals

  Median Refund

  Total Refunds ($000)

 


Alabama

27,200

$552

$24,546

 

Alaska

8,700

$601

$10,663

 

Arizona

39,000

$472

$36,396

 

Arkansas

14,900

$536

$13,934

 

California

197,300

$514

$218,757

 

Colorado

30,000

$527

$34,047

 

Connecticut

19,500

$652

$28,971

 

Delaware

6,100

$573

$6,310

Dist. of Columbia

7,100

$567

$8,277

 

Florida

115,900

$593

$162,926

 

Georgia

59,300

$532

$60,783

 

Hawaii

10,700

$611

$13,019

 

Idaho

6,200

$468

$5,572

 

Illinois

68,300

$632

$94,477

 

Indiana

33,500

$612

$36,247

 

Iowa

15,500

$570

$13,727

 

Kansas

17,300

$543

$16,088

 

Kentucky

18,600

$593

$18,633

 

Louisiana

27,600

$551

$30,272

 

Maine

6,100

$513

$6,029

 

Maryland

38,800

$572

$47,355

 

Massachusetts

38,900

$633

$64,676

 

Michigan

67,500

$612

$77,660

 

Minnesota

24,600

$525

$25,596

 

Mississippi

14,200

$487

$12,349

 

Missouri

34,000

$543

$32,925

 

Montana

4,300

$493

$4,880

 

Nebraska

8,000

$535

$7,841

 

Nevada

20,300

$538

$23,811

 

New Hampshire

6,800

$668

$11,177

 

New Jersey

55,800

$646

$81,136

 

New Mexico

11,600

$512

$11,150

 

New York

107,800

$622

$157,855

 

North Carolina

48,600

$499

$46,737

 

North Dakota

2,400

$530

$2,288

 

Ohio

56,000

$559

$56,810

 

Oklahoma

22,500

$528

$21,370

 

Oregon

25,800

$478

$24,240

 

Pennsylvania

58,300

$620

$67,372

 

Rhode Island

6,100

$584

$6,471

 

South Carolina

20,100

$491

$19,969

 

South Dakota

2,900

$548

$3,229

 

Tennessee

27,300

$564

$30,889

 

Texas

135,600

$601

$161,409

 

Utah

9,900

$472

$10,029

 

Vermont

2,900

$581

$3,287

 

Virginia

51,500

$575

$60,867

 

Washington

45,000

$611

$55,309

 

West Virginia

5,600

$604

$6,703

 

Wisconsin

20,200

$525

$19,412

 

Wyoming

2,900

$603

$3,201

Armed Forces

8,500

$749

$6,995

 

U.S. Possessions

1,000

$587

$1,426


Total

1,714,500

$570

$2,006,097

* Excluding Earned Income Tax Credit

Related Item: Previous year forms and instructions