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The IRS Handed $760M in Unclaimed Tax Refunds to the Government
The deadline to file a 2013 tax return has passed — and with it, the deadline to file a return for 2010. The IRS reported in March that more than 900,000 taxpayers had left $760 millions’ worth of unclaimed tax refunds in the agency’s coffers.

Taxpayers are allowed three years to file a return and receive their refund. Tax Day 2014 was also the last day taxpayers could file to receive their unclaimed tax refund – $827 on average, with the IRS estimating the median refund at $571. If these taxpayers didn’t file, their three-quarters of a billion dollars becomes the property of the U.S. Treasury.
Unclaimed Tax Refunds Often for Low-Income Taxpayers

The IRS attributes some of these unclaimed tax refunds to low-income workers who did not make enough to be required by law to file a return. The unclaimed refunds might even include more money than was withheld from taxpayers’ paychecks, thanks to tax credits for which many of these low-income taxpayers qualify.

The IRS said in a statement that “low-and-moderate income workers may not have claimed the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). For 2010, the credit is worth as much as $5,666.”

The IRS said it owed Texas residents the most at nearly $72 million, with the $69.8 million owed to Californians coming in second. The states with the highest expected median tax refunds were $649 in Alaska, $648 in Wyoming, and $640 in Washington.

The good news is that the overall amount of unclaimed tax refund money for 2010 was significantly lower than the $917 million U.S. taxpayers hadn’t claimed at this same time last year — but the median tax refund was also a much lower $500.
You Can Still Claim Refunds for 2011, 2012 and 2013

If you failed to file a return for a previous year for any reason, there is still time to claim a refund for fiscal years 2011, 2012, and 2013.

In particular, those who might have qualified for the Earned Income Tax Credit during any of these years should file a return, as the chances of receiving a refund are much higher. See if you qualify for the EITC income limits for 2011, 2012 or 2013 by visiting the in-text links.

Don’t wait until Tax Day 2015 to file a return and claim your refund — doing it now will get you your money earlier and allow you to spend it now, pay down debt and save on interest, or deposit it in a high-yield savings account and earn some interest for yourself.

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