If you haven’t filed your 2009 federal tax return, you may still have time to claim your tax refund. The IRS has $917 million in unclaimed refunds from an estimated 984,000 tax returns that people didn’t file for the 2009 tax year. The IRS estimates that half the potential refunds for 2009 are more than $500.
Here are some things the IRS wants you to know about unclaimed refunds:
1. Not required to file. You may not have filed a 2009 tax return because you didn’t earn enough income to have a filing requirement. If you had taxes withheld from your wages or made quarterly estimated payments, you can still file a return and claim your refund.
2. Three-year window. You have three years to claim a refund. If you don’t claim your refund within three years, the money becomes property of the U.S. Treasury. For 2009 returns, the window closes on April 15, 2013. You must properly address, postmark and mail your return by that date. There is no penalty for filing a late return if you are due a refund.
3. Don’t miss the EITC. By not filing a return, you may miss an important credit — the Earned Income Tax Credit. For 2009, the credit is worth as much as $5,657. The EITC can put extra money in the pockets of individuals and families with low and moderate incomes. If you are eligible for the EITC, you must file a federal income tax return to claim the credit. This is true even if you are not otherwise required to file.
4. Some refunds applied. The IRS may hold your refund if you have not filed tax returns for 2010 and 2011. The law allows the use of your federal tax refund to pay any amounts still owed to the IRS or your state tax agency. If you have unpaid debts, such as overdue child support or student loans, your refund may be applied to pay that debt.
Current and prior year tax forms and instructions are available at IRS.gov or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676). If you are missing Forms W-2, 1098, 1099 or 5498, you should request copies from your employer, bank or other payer. If you can’t get these forms, you can get a free transcript from the IRS showing the information you need from those forms.
Order a transcript by filing Form 4506-T, Request for Transcript of Tax Return, with the IRS, or by calling 800-829-1040.