Clock Ticking on $950 Million in Tax Refunds from 2012

Mar 14, 2016 by

The Internal Revenue Service says that federal income tax refunds totaling $950 million are waiting for an estimated one million taxpayers who did not file a federal income tax return for 2012. To collect the money, these taxpayers must file a 2012 tax return with the IRS no later than this year’s April tax deadline. CPAs and Enrolled Agents (EAs) can help taxpayers file past-year returns.

“A surprising number of people across the country overlook claiming tax refunds each year. But the clock is ticking for taxpayers who didn’t file a 2012 federal income tax return, leaving nearly $1 billion in refunds unclaimed,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “We especially encourage students and others who didn’t earn much money to look into this situation because they may still be entitled to a refund. Don’t forget, there’s no penalty for filing a late return if you’re due a refund.”

The IRS estimates the midpoint for potential refunds for 2012 to be $718, with half being worth more than $718 and half being worth less.

In cases where a tax return was not filed, the law provides most taxpayers with a three-year window of opportunity for claiming a refund. If no return is filed to claim a refund within three years, the money becomes the property of the U.S. Treasury. For 2012 tax returns, the window closes on April 18, 2016 (or April 19 for taxpayers in Maine and Massachusetts). The law requires the tax return to be properly addressed, mailed and postmarked by that date.

The IRS reminds taxpayers seeking a 2012 refund that their checks may be held if they have not filed tax returns for 2013 and 2014. In addition, the refund will be applied to any amounts still owed to the IRS, or their state tax agency, and may be used to offset unpaid child support or past due federal debts, such as student loans.

By failing to file a tax return, people stand to lose more than just their refund of taxes withheld or paid during 2012. Many low-and-moderate income workers may not have claimed the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). For 2012, the credit is worth as much as $5,891.

To see the full stats, click here.

Source: CPA Practice Advisor

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