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IRS Has $760 Million in Unclaimed Refunds

Here's how to find out if you're owed money and how to claim it.

Time is running out for more than 900,000 taxpayers to collect their share of $760 million in unclaimed refunds, according to the IRS. Taxpayers who did not file a 2010 federal tax return have until April 15 to file their returns and claim any money they are owed. The IRS estimates that more than half of the unclaimed refunds from 2010 are more than $571.

The law gives taxpayers three years from the date a return is due to claim a refund. Refunds that are not claimed for 2010 returns (which were due in 2011) by April 15 will become property of the U.S. Treasury. So if you didn't file a return for 2010 (or any year since then) and think you might be owed money, you can find prior year tax forms at IRS.gov. You might be due a refund if you had too little income to file a return but had taxes withheld from your wages or made quarterly estimated tax payments.

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If you're missing a W-2, 1099 or other from from a prior year needed to complete your tax return, check with the employer or financial institution that would have sent you this form. You also can file a Form 4506-T to request a transcript from the IRS that includes data from these forms.

Tracking your 2013 refund

If you've already filed your 2013 federal tax return and are owed money, you can track the status of your refund with the Where's My Refund tool at IRS.gov.

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The IRS will post the status of your refund within 24 hours after it's received your e-filed tax return. If you mailed your return, it takes four weeks. You'll need your Social Security number, filing status and refund amount as shown on your tax return to check your refund's status.

The IRS updates its refund data only once a day -- usually overnight. So the IRS urges taxpayers not to check the status of their refunds several times a day. Otherwise, a large number of inquiries will more likely lead to service disruptions.

When you do receive your refund, consider these 10 smart uses for it. Then consider adjusting your tax withholding so that you get the money when you earn it. Sure, it feels great to get a big check you can use to pay down debt, fund a vacation or add to a retirement account. But it means you’re handing over too much money to Uncle Sam -- money you could use each month to pay bills, buy groceries, invest in stocks or whatever. Use our Tax Withholding Calculator to see how much you can add to your paycheck by adjusting your withholding.

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