If you have not filed your tax return, and you are entitled to a refund, did you know that the deadline for you to claim the refund is 3 years from its due date (excluding extensions)? For example, if you were due a refund on your 2013 Income Tax Return (which was due April 15th 2014), you have until April 15th 2017 to claim it. If you don’t file a claim for a refund within three years, the money becomes property of the U.S. Treasury.
Note, there are no interest and penalties for failing to file a return in which a refund was owed. However, if you have a balance due, those items can be pretty stiff as outlined in this post.
Here are some of the facts you need to know about filing a late tax return in which there is an unclaimed refund:
- Some people, such as students, part-time workers or seasonal employees may not have filed because they thought they had too little income to require filing a tax return. However, if you did not have a filing requirement, you may still have a refund waiting if you had taxes withheld from your wages. A refund could also apply if a taxpayer qualified for certain tax credits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit.
- The law requires that you properly address, mail and postmark your tax return within 3 years of the due date to claim your refund.
- The IRS may hold your refund if you have not filed tax returns that were due at a later date.
- The U.S. Treasury will apply the refund to any federal or state tax you owe. It also may use your refund to offset unpaid child support or past due federal debts such as student loans.
- If you’re missing Forms W-2, 1098, 1099 or 5498 for 2012, you should ask for copies from your employer, bank or other payer. If you can’t get copies, get a free transcript showing that information by going to IRS.gov. You can also file Form 4506-T to get a transcript.