Tax Refunds – Over $1 Billion Still to Claim

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It is hard to imagine anyone being excited about filing taxes unless you’re 100% convinced you’re getting a refund. And now according to the IRS there is roughly $1.1 billion in unclaimed tax refunds for 2014 alone! The IRS estimates that some one million taxpayers have not filed 2014 tax returns. This translates to about $1,000 per taxpayer with a median refund estimated to be $847.

Time is running out and those taxpayers in question have until April 17, 2018 to file 2014 taxes to claim the refunds. Typically it’s the students or part time workers who assume their earnings are too low to justify filing taxes. It is important to remember that all workers have portion of their paycheck withheld. Only by filing taxes we can be sure whether we under or over contributed to the government coffers.

Important to remember and consider:

  • There is no penalty for filing taxes late if you are owed a refund.
  • If you did not file 2015 or 2016 tax returns, the IRS will not release any potential refund for 2014.
  • IRS will first cover any federal debts outstanding (i.e. past tax obligations, student loans) or certain state tax obligations (child support, state taxes).

What if I don’t have a W-2?

It’s highly likely that your W-2 for 2014 is long gone making a task of filing taxes challenging. The good news is that it’s not impossible. There are two ways to get that document:

  • Contact the employer and request a copy.
  • Contact the IRS and request a wage and income transcript; the transcript will show all data reported to the IRS – keep in mind it may be incomplete.
    • Get the transcript at https://www.irs.gov/individuals/get-transcript or
    • Submit Form 4506-T – it includes all the information where to mail it.
  • Because a transcript includes information reported to the IRS, it may include details typically available on forms 1099, 1098, 5498, and IRA contributions.

Last but not least, make sure to mail the return to the correct address and have the envelope postmarked by April 17, 2018. Past tax returns cannot be filed electronically.

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