Time is running out to file for tax year 2018 and still get unclaimed refunds

IRS Tax Tip 2022-51, April 4, 2022

In 2018, over a million taxpayers didn't file their federal return, leaving $1.5 billion in unclaimed refund money. It's not too late for people to file and get their refund, but the deadline is soon.

Taxpayers have until April 18, 2022, to file their 2018 return and get their refund.

If a taxpayer doesn't file their return, they usually have three years to file and claim their tax refund. If they don't file within three years, the money becomes the property of the U.S. Treasury.

To claim a refund for 2018, taxpayers must mail returns to the IRS center listed on the Form 1040 instructionsPDF. While they must mail in a 2018 return, taxpayers can still e-file for 2019, 2020 and 2021.

Taxpayers can download tax forms and instructions from the IRS.gov Forms, Instructions and Publications page of IRS.gov or by calling 800-829-3676.

The IRS may hold refund checks if the taxpayer has not filed for 2019 and 2020. The IRS may also apply the refund to overdue state or federal tax bills or other state or federal debts, like child support and student loans.

Taxpayers may also be eligible for the earned income tax credit.

When people don't file a tax return, they can lose more than just their refund money. Many taxpayers are eligible for the earned income tax credit. This tax credit can reduce the tax they owe and increase the amount of their refund. It helps people and families whose incomes are less than a certain amount.

For 2018, the earned income tax credit thresholds were:

  • $49,194 for those with three or more qualifying children; $54,884 if married filing jointly
  • $45,802 for people with two qualifying children; $51,492 if married filing jointly
  • $40,320 for those with one qualifying child; $46,010 if married filing jointly
  • $15,270 for people without qualifying children; $20,950 if married filing jointly

Missing tax forms?

Taxpayers who are missing tax forms can access wage and income transcripts from their Online Account under Tax Records. This transcript has the information sent to the IRS, such as Forms W-2, 1098, 1099, Form 5498 and IRA contribution information. Taxpayers can use the information from the transcript to complete their tax forms. Alternatively, taxpayers can request copies from their employer, bank, or other payer.

Subscribe to IRS Tax Tips