Could you be one of the many hundreds of thousands of American taxpayers that Uncle Sam owes money to?
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced in a press release last week that it owes money to more than 900,000 taxpayers who did not file a tax return in 2010. This means that the tax collecting agency owes approximately $760 million.
However, in order to receive a piece of the pie, taxpayers have to file a 2010 tax return by Apr. 15 to claim it. Once the date has past, the funds will be property of the United States Treasury Department. Some of the individuals that did not file taxes in that year were students and part-time workers.
“The window is quickly closing for people who are owed refunds from 2010 who haven’t filed a tax return,” IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said. “We encourage students, part-time workers and others who haven’t filed for 2010 to look in to this before time runs out on April 15.”
It was noted by the federal agency that taxpayers who are owed a refund do not have to pay a penalty for filing at a later date, according to USA Today.
The average tax refund due in that year was $571 and that doesn’t include the Earned Income Tax Credit, a tax credit for low-income earners. This was worth as much as $5,666 four years ago; married couples with three children could be eligible for the credit and make as much as $48,362.
CNN reports that taxpayers residing in Alaska, Connecticut, Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming are missing out on most of the tax money with a median refund of $620.
Tax professionals say it’s quite common for taxpayers to neglect filing their taxes.
“Sometimes we’ll have people coming in and they’ll have tax returns going back ten years,” said Tera Schultz, a tax preparer, in an interview with a local NBC News affiliate. “But any of those years they have refunds, if they’re beyond their three open years, then there’s no refund coming.”
Taxpayers generally have up to three years to claim a refund. If they don’t file a return after three years, then the refund amount gets transferred to the Treasury Department. The IRS also has up to three years to audit a return from the date the return was filed, according to the Wall Street Journal.
For more information, tax forms and instructions are available on the Forms and Publications page of the IRS website or by calling toll-free (800-829-3676). Individuals who are missing Forms W-2, 1098, 1099 or 5498 for 2010, 2011 or 2012 are urged to obtain copies from their employers, financial institutions and other payers.
Earlier this month, the IRS announced that it issued 48 million returns with an average of $3,034, up three percent from the same time a year ago. In total, the IRS doled out an estimated $147 billion in refunds between Jan. 31 and Feb. 28. Most of the refunds were deposited directly into taxpayers’ bank accounts.