IRS Special Edition Tax Tip 2017-06, March 3, 2017
Taxpayers who did not file a tax return for 2013 may be one of the nearly 1 million who may be due a refund from that year. Taxpayers must claim their part of almost $1 billion by this year’s April 18 tax deadline. To claim a refund, taxpayers must file a 2013 federal income tax return. Here are some facts about unclaimed refunds:
- The unclaimed refunds apply to people who did not file a federal income tax return for 2013. The IRS estimates that half the potential refunds are more than $763.
- Some people, such as students and part-time workers, may not have filed because they had too little income to require them to file 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.
- The law generally provides a three-year window to claim a tax refund. For 2013 returns, the window closes on April 18, 2017.
- The law requires that taxpayers properly address, mail and postmark their tax returns by April 18, 2017, to claim their refund.
- After three years, unclaimed refunds become property of the U.S. Treasury. There is no penalty for filing a late return if taxpayers are due a refund.
- The IRS may hold 2013 refunds if taxpayers have not filed tax returns for 2014 and 2015. The U.S. Treasury will apply the refund to any federal or state tax owed. Refunds may also be held to offset unpaid child support or past due federal debts such as student loans.
- Taxpayers who are missing Forms W-2, 1098, 1099 or 5498 for prior years should ask for copies from employers, banks or other payers. Taxpayers unable to get these copies can request a wage and income transcript either online or by mail. Taxpayers 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 2013 tax return and claim a refund will expire on April 18, 2017.
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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