For Immediate Release
Contact: Gigi Thompson Jarvis
firstname.lastname@example.org, 202.822.6232, x11
Deadline Looming for Unclaimed Refunds
$1 B in Tax Refunds May Wind Up in the US Treasury
WASHINGTON, DC (March 19, 2012)—The three-year window of opportunity for non-filers to claim a tax refund for 2008 is about to expire. After Tuesday, April 17, 2012, this year’s federal tax filing deadline, the unclaimed funds will become the property of the US Treasury. Given that IRS is sitting on more than one billion dollars in unclaimed refunds from 2008, the refunds could be substantial.
“IRS estimates that over half of the potential refunds are for $637 or more,” said John Dundon II, EA, president of Taxpayer Advocacy Services in the Greater Denver area, “and there is no penalty for filing a late return qualifying for a refund. Those who did not file a return in 2008 and are planning to file now in hope of seeing the refund need to keep in mind that IRS requires them to have filed in 2009 or 2010, or else the check may be held.”
Non-filers are not necessarily breaking the law; they may have had so little income that year that they were not required to file a return. If taxes were withheld from a paycheck, or quarterly estimated payments were made, a refund could be waiting at IRS. However, if the taxpayer owes back child support or is behind on federal loans, such as student loans, IRS may use the funds to offset those debts.
Not filing taxes can also cause taxpayers to miss out on other government funds. Those who didn’t file in 2008 may now be eligible for some or all of the Recovery Rebate Credit, a one-time payment for taxpayers who didn't receive the full economic stimulus payment in 2008 and whose circumstances have changed. Low-to-middle income taxpayers could also be missing out on the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which helps individuals and families whose incomes are below certain thresholds.
If you didn’t file in 2008, you can start this process by heading to the IRS website (IRS.gov), where you’ll find past year’s tax forms and instructions. Those who no longer have 2008 tax documents can request a free transcript from IRS, or hire a licensed tax practitioner to take this on. An enrolled agent, a tax specialist licensed by the US Department of Treasury, can go to the IRS on your behalf – as your “agent” – prepare your return, and represent you before IRS if there is trouble, such as an audit or collection action.
According to IRS, the three states with the highest number of 2008 non-filers with potential refunds are California, with 122,500, Texas, with 96,200 and Florida, with 70,400.
About Enrolled Agents
Enrolled agents (EAs) are America’s tax experts. They are the only federally-licensed tax practitioners who specialize in taxation and also have unlimited rights to represent taxpayers before the IRS. While attorneys and certified public accountants are also licensed, only enrolled agents specialize exclusively in taxes. Enrolled agents are required to complete many hours of continuing education each year to ensure they are up-to-date on the constantly changing tax code and must abide by a code of ethics. To locate an enrolled agent in your area, go to the “Find an Enrolled Agent” directory at www.naea.org.