tax refunds

Is There an Unclaimed Tax Refund Waiting for You?

The IRS has $1.3 billion in refunds from 2017 waiting to be claimed. Is any of that money yours?

The IRS is looking for 1.3 million people who didn't file a 2017 tax return and who might be owed a refund of taxes withheld or otherwise prepaid. In fact, there's more than $1.3 billion of potential refunds waiting to be claimed. The median potential refund is estimated to be $865. Is any of that money yours?

Claim Your Refund By May 17

If you think some of that cash could be yours, you need to act fast. In cases where a federal tax return was not filed, the taxpayer generally has a three-year window of opportunity to claim a refund. That means you must file your 2017 tax return with the IRS no later than this year's extended tax due date of May 17, 2021, to collect the money.

Missing W-2 and Other 2017 Tax Forms?

If you're missing W-2, 1098, 1099 or 5498 forms from 2017, try getting copies from your employer, bank or other payer. If that doesn't work, you can go online and order a free wage and income transcript from the IRS or request one by filing Form 4506-T. The transcript will show data from information returns received by the IRS. This information can be used to file your 2017 tax return.

What If You Have a Tax Debt or Didn't File Other Returns?

The IRS could hold your 2017 refund check if you didn't file a 2018 or 2019 return, either. In addition, the IRS may also apply your 2017 refund to any federal or state taxes you owe for other years—or to offset unpaid child support or past due federal debts, such as student loans.

Eligibility for 2017 Earned Income Tax Credit

By filing a 2017 tax return, many low- and moderate-income workers may also be eligible for the earned income tax credit for that year. The credit was worth as much as $6,318 for 2017. The credit helps individuals and families whose incomes are below certain thresholds. The thresholds for 2017 were:

  • $48,340 ($53,930 if married filing jointly) for people with three or more qualifying children;
  • $45,007 ($50,597 if married filing jointly) for people with two qualifying children;
  • $39,617 ($45,207 if married filing jointly) for people with one qualifying child; and
  • $15,010 ($20,600 if married filing jointly) for people without qualifying children.

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