It’s tax season once again. And while most taxpayers are focused on their 2020 returns, time is also running out to claim refunds from past years.
According to the Internal Revenue Service, there are an estimated 1.3 million taxpayers who are owed a total of $1.3 billion in unclaimed refunds for tax year 2017. The IRS estimates that the refund amount of more than half of the unfiled returns is greater than $865.
The deadline to claim these returns is May 17, 2021.
“The IRS always has a three-year window for filing a federal tax return and 2017’s money is waiting to be claimed. To be clear: this $1.3 billion is just from unclaimed tax refunds for taxpayers who haven’t filed yet, even though these taxpayers paid taxes throughout the year through withholdings,” said Mark Steber, Chief Tax Information Officer at Jackson Hewitt. “Taxes are complicated enough and worrying about filing past tax returns only adds to the complexity. It’s important to work with trusted Tax Pros to help navigate any complex tax issues that may arise for taxpayers.”
In addition to the money that taxpayers may be owed for the 2017 tax return, they may also qualify for large refundable tax credits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, which is worth as much as $6,318 to eligible taxpayers, as well as the Child Tax Credit, and American Opportunity Credit.
If taxpayers don’t file their 2017 income taxes before the deadline, the money will become property of the U.S. Treasury after May 17.
Other Important Things To Know
- Taxpayers seeking a 2017 tax refund may have their refund checks held if they have not filed tax returns for 2018 and 2019.
- The refund will first be applied to any amounts still owed to the IRS or a state tax agency.
- The refund may be used to offset unpaid child support or past due federal debts, such as student loans.
How to Claim Your Refund
- Did You File a return for 2017? If you did not file for 2017, you may still be eligible for a refund.
- Locate your 2017 tax forms, such as W-2, 1098, 1099 or 5498. Taxpayers who are missing these forms should request copies from their employer, bank, or other payer.
- Get help if you can’t find the forms. Taxpayers who are unable to get missing forms from their employer or other payer can order a free wage and income transcript at IRS.gov using the Get Transcript Online tool or visit their trusted tax professional for additional guidance.
- File your 2017 return using the IRS website, or your trusted tax professional. Current and prior year tax forms (such as the tax year 2017 Form 1040, 1040-A and 1040-EZ) and instructions are available on the IRS.gov Forms and Publications page or by calling toll-free 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).