Unclaimed tax refunds worth over $1.3 trillion await more than 1.3 million Americans who didn’t file their 2017 federal taxes, according to the Internal Revenue Service, but taxpayers have just over a month to claim them.
These taxpayers may be missing out on a median amount of $865 from their 2017 refund. Filers generally have three years to claim their refund. After that window closes, the money goes to the U.S. Treasury.
“The IRS wants to help taxpayers who are due refunds but haven’t filed their 2017 tax returns yet,” IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said in a statement on Monday. “Time is quickly running out for these taxpayers. There’s only a three-year window to claim these refunds, and the window closes on May 17. We want to help people get these refunds, but they will need to quickly file a 2017 tax return.”
The tax deadline this year was extended to May 17, the date taxpayers must postmark their mailed return by to get their 2017 refund. Old tax returns cannot be filed electronically; they must be filed by paper.
If you haven’t filed your 2018 and 2019 tax returns, the IRS can still hold your 2017 refund. Additionally, the refund can be applied to any money you owe to the IRS or your state tax agency and can be used to offset unpaid child support or towards past-due federal debts including student loans.
Taxpayers missing Forms W-2, 1098, 1099, or 5498 can request copies from their employer, bank, or other payers. If they’re unable to get the necessary documents, they can use the IRS’s Get Transcript Online tool to order a free wage and income transcript or file Form 4506-T.
By not filing their tax return, low- and moderate-income households are also missing on credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The credit was worth up to $6,318 in 2017, according to the IRS.