Missing a Tax Refund From 2018? You Only Have Weeks Left to Collect
There is a three-year window for taxpayers to claim refunds, meaning the deadline for 2018 tax returns is approaching soon.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has issued notice that nearly $1.5 billion remains in unclaimed income tax refunds for an estimated 1.5 million taxpayers who did not file a 2018 return.
Those taxpayers better act quickly, because they only have until the April tax deadline to collect the money. For those who need to file a 2018 return, they must do so by traditional mail and send the return to the IRS center listed on the last page of the current Form 1040 instructions.
“The IRS wants to help people who are due refunds but haven’t filed their 2018 tax returns yet,” IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said in a statement. “But people need to act quickly. By law, there’s only a three-year window to claim these refunds, which closes with this year’s April tax deadline. We want to help people get these refunds, but they need to file a 2018 tax return before this critical deadline.”
The agency estimated that the midpoint for the potential refunds is a little over $800. The state with the highest potential median refund is Alaska at $969, and the lowest is Idaho at $686.
However, according to personal finance expert Susan Tompor at the Detroit Free Press, “everyone who files a 2018 return will not see cash.”
“These refund checks may be held back if taxpayers have not filed tax returns for 2019 and 2020,” she writes. “Also refunds will be applied to any amounts still owed to the IRS or a state tax agency and, according to the IRS, may be used to offset unpaid child support or past due federal debts.”
Qualify for EITC?
Furthermore, some of the taxpayers who did not file a 2018 return could be eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which was worth more than $6,400 for that particular tax year.
According to the IRS, the EITC income thresholds for 2018 were as follows: $49,194 ($54,884 if married filing jointly) for those with three or more qualifying children; $45,802 ($51,492 if married filing jointly) for people with two qualifying children; $40,320 ($46,010 if married filing jointly) for those with one qualifying child; and $15,270 ($20,950 if married filing jointly) for people without qualifying children.
Finding Necessary Paperwork
Some taxpayers may need to do a little digging to find the necessary paperwork if they are missing their W-2 or 1099 forms from 2018.
“Taxpayers who are unable to get old forms from their employer or other payer can order a free wage and income transcript at IRS.gov using the Get Transcript Online tool,” Tompor writes. “Or they can file Form 4506-T to request a wage and income transcript.”
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Washington state-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.