Need Cash? IRS Has $1 Billion in Unclaimed Refunds

Tax Deadline on April 15Here’s a time you want to hear from the IRS.

The agency has $1 billion in unclaimed refunds belonging to about 1 million people who didn’t file a 2011 tax return. The IRS holds the money for three years, after which it goes to the Treasury Department. Time is running out for 2011 refunds to be recovered by taxpayers.

“Some people may not have filed because they didn’t make much money, but they may still be entitled to a refund,” IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said in a statement. “People could be missing out on a substantial refund, especially students or part-time workers.”

Taxpayers in the Lone Star state are owed the most — $103 million due to 101,800 Texans, according to the IRS. They’re followed by 103,700 Californians owed $92.2 million, 67,500 Floridians with $64 million in unclaimed refunds and 63,400 New Yorkers due $63.8 million.

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If you filed returns in previous years and got a refund, that could be a sign you were eligible for another in 2011. The only way to find out for sure is to file a return for that year. You need to act fast, though. You must submit a 2011 return by April 15 of this year to claim the money.

You can get old tax return forms and instructions on the IRS website or by calling 800-829-3676. Contact your employer, bank or other institutions to get old copies of W-2s, 1099s and other year-end tax documents. If that fails, you can also file Form 4506-T with the IRS to get a transcript of your tax information.

Be aware, even if you are due a 2011 refund, that the IRS may withhold it if you haven’t yet filed 2012 and 2013 returns. And you may find that your refund was reduced if you failed to pay child support, owe back taxes to your state or Uncle Sam, or are behind on other federal debts.

Photo: Alexsl/iStock

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