NEW YORK — Time is running out for more than 1 million Americans to claim tax refunds their owed.
The IRS announced this week that its sitting on roughly $1.3 billion in unclaimed refunds, stemming from taxpayers who did not file a return in 2017.
“The statute runs from April 15, the due date of the return, until 3 years after its due,” Paul Miller, a New York-based CPA, explained. “If you don’t file a claim for your refund, you will lose it.”
According to Miller, it’s common for the IRS to amass hundreds of millions in unclaimed refunds annually, but its rare for the agency to alert taxpayers about money that they are due.
“It just doesn’t happen,” he said, suggesting financial hardship being experienced by many Americans could be play a factor in IRS flagging unclaimed refunds.
The slice of this refund pie is significant in the tri-state area.
More than $35 million is owed to New Jersey residents — and in New York, the pot is $71 million.
So how do you get this refund?
“So right now we are concerned about only 2017,” Miller explained. “You know if you haven’t filed a return, if you’re not sure, contact a CPA and get power of attorney. [They] can call the IRS and find out.”
Even if you’ve lost your documents, the IRS will likely have them on file, he said.
Also important to note — checks may be withheld if the tax filer did not file in 2018 or 2019, as the refund would be applied to any outstanding debts.
The IRS estimates that the midpoint of the returns to be in the $865 range.
“With this new extension they just issued, you have till May 17,” Miller said. “You should just file now and amend later if there are any errors.”
Forms for current and previous tax years can be found on the IRS website or by calling (800) TAX-FORM.