The IRS has issued their annual update regarding refunds that may be lost to statute. A March 15 IRS Press Release stated that $917 million in unclaimed 2009 refund money is up for grabs.
According to IRS figures, 984,400 taxpayers did not file a 2009 tax return, and if they did, an average refund $500 may be available to each of them. The refund figures are based on earnings and federal withholdings as reported to Social Security and the IRS, as well as estimations of eligibility for certain refundable credits.
The largest group of unclaimed refunds comes from individuals who do not legally have to file. Based on their age, filing status and income, no return is required. However, those taxpayers are entitled to a refund of any federal taxes withheld from their pay. They must file a return to make a claim for those funds.
Other workers may not have had any tax withheld, but should they file, would be eligible for refundable credits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit.
If no return is filed to claim the refund within three years, the money becomes the property of the U.S. Treasury.
After the expiration of the three-year window, the refund statute prevents the issuance of a refund check and the application of any credits, including overpayments of estimated or withholding taxes, to other tax years that are underpaid.
In order to not forfeit any refund, the return for 2009 must be filed with the IRS no later than Monday, April 15, 2013.
The IRS reminds taxpayers seeking a 2009 refund that should they be eligible for money back, the refund will still be offset first to any past due IRS debt, even if that debt is from tax years subsequent to 2009.
If no federal balances exist, the refund may still be applied to any amounts owed to a state tax agency, and would also be used to offset unpaid child support or past due federal student loan delinquency.