984,000 Could Lose their Tax Refund

TaxpapersEach year the IRS pulls back money for unclaimed refunds. The amounts are not trivial, as the unclaimed refunds for 2009 are over $900 million. Here is what you need to know.

Last week the IRS announced it is holding $917 million in unclaimed refunds for the 2009 tax year. If the claims for these unpaid refunds are not made by April 15th the refunds will no longer be available. Here is what you need to know:

  1. Timely filing. To receive the refund your 2009 tax return must be properly addressed, mailed, and postmarked by April 15th. It is best to send this certified mail in case there is a dispute with the filing of the return. To play it safe, it is also best to plan for the IRS to receive the return prior to April 15th.
  2. Haven’t filed a tax return? There is no penalty for filing a late return that qualifies for a refund.
  3. There may be delays. If you have not filed a 2010 or 2011 tax return, your refund may be granted, but delayed until the other tax returns are filed. In addition, the refund may be used to pay for any unpaid tax obligations.
  4. It will be tough. Remember all of the country is busy preparing 2012 tax returns, so getting help can be a challenge.

If this impacts you, act now. If you fail to file a tax return, the government can collect any taxes owed long after three years. However, if the government owes you money, you only have three years from the original tax filing due date to collect it. There are no exceptions to this time limit.