More than a million Americans stand to lose $950 million in unclaimed tax refunds for 2012 if they don’t file a federal income tax return by this year’s April tax deadline. Any funds that are not claimed will go to the U.S. Treasury.
The median potential refund is $718, according to the IRS.
"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 in a statement. "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 agency generally allows taxpayers three years to file a tax return and get a refund. The return must be properly addressed, mailed and postmarked by this year’s tax deadline, which falls on April 18 this year for most Americans. (Maine and Massachusetts residents have until April 19.)
Taxpayers cannot get a 2012 refund if they have not filed tax returns for 2013 and 2014. The tax refunds also will be applied to any amount that is still owed to the IRS or any state tax agency. The refund could also be used to offset any unpaid child support or past-due federal debts such as student loans.
Tax forms for this year and previous years are available on the IRS website or by calling 800-TAX-FORM. Taxpayers should request copies of any missing forms for previous years such as W-2s and dividend statements from their employer, bank or other financial institution.