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Tips for Getting Unclaimed 2014 Tax Refunds

IRS Tax Reform Tax Tip 2018-53, April 5, 2018

The IRS reminds taxpayers they may have money waiting for them. About 1 million taxpayers who did not file a 2014 federal income tax return have unclaimed tax refunds totaling about $1.1 billion. Here are some things taxpayers should know about these unclaimed refunds:

  • To collect the money, taxpayers must file their 2014 tax return with the IRS no later than this year's tax deadline, Tuesday, April 17.
  • The IRS estimates that half of the refunds are more than $847.
  • When a taxpayer who is getting a refund does not file a return, the law gives them three years to claim that tax refund. If the taxpayer does not file a tax return within three years, the money goes back to the U.S. Treasury. For 2014 tax returns, the three-year window closes April 17, 2018.
  • The law requires taxpayers to properly address and mail the tax return to the IRS. It must be postmarked by the April deadline.
  • The IRS may hold the 2014 refunds of taxpayers who have not filed tax returns for 2015 and 2016.
  • The unclaimed money will be applied to any amounts still owed to the IRS or a state tax agency. The money may also be used to offset unpaid child support or past due federal debts, such as student loans.
  • By failing to file a tax return, people stand to lose more than just their tax refund. Many low- and moderate-income workers may be eligible for the earned income tax credit. For 2014, the credit was worth as much as $6,143.
  • Current and prior year tax forms are available on the IRS.gov Forms, Instructions and Publications page or by calling toll-free 800-TAX-FORM. This includes forms 1040, 1040A and 1040EZ for 2014.
  • Taxpayers who are missing forms W-2, 1098, 1099 or 5498 for the years 2014, 2015 or 2016 should request copies from their employer, bank or other payer. Taxpayers who are unable to get missing forms can order a free wage and income transcript at IRS.gov using the Get Transcript Online tool. Taxpayers can use the information on the transcript to file their tax return.