No one would throw $623 down a drain or out the window, but tens of thousands of New Yorkers have hundreds of dollars in tax refunds for the 2010 tax year that the Internal Revenue Service is holding. But time is fast running out for people to claim the money.
The IRS has nearly $51 million for an estimated 57,400 New York taxpayers who didn’t file in 2011. Most people due refunds have three years to claim them. Returns have to be postmarked by April 15, after which the money will become property of the U.S. Treasury.
“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 in a statement. “We encourage students, part-time workers and others who haven’t filed for 2010 to look into this before time runs out on April 15.”
The IRS estimates that half the potential refunds due to New York taxpayers for 2010 are more than $623. There is no penalty for filing a late return that qualifies for a refund.
Nationwide, there are refunds totaling almost $760 million for an estimated 918,600 taxpayers who didn’t file for that year. The IRS estimates half of the potential refunds for 2010 are more than $571.
Reasons for not filing can include having too little income to require filing a return, even though taxes were withheld from wages, or they made quarterly estimated payments. If taxpayers are due refunds but didn’t file their 2011 and 2012 taxes, their checks may be held. Also, the refund will be applied to any amounts still owed to the IRS or state tax agencies. It could be used to offset unpaid child support or past due federal debts like student loans.
Non-filers stand to lose a lot more than just their refund for 2010. Many low- and moderate-income taxpayers may not have claimed the Earned Income Tax Credit, which was worth up to $5,666 in 2010.
Current and prior year tax forms and instructions are available on the Forms and Publications page of IRS.gov or by calling 800-TAX-FORM. Taxpayers who are missing forms W-2, 1098, 1099 or 5498 for 2010, 2011 or 2012 should request copies from their employer, bank or other payer. If they can’t get them, they can get a free transcript by going to IRS.gov. Taxpayers can also file Form 4506-T to request a transcript of their tax return.
(Journal News file photo of a worker canceling letters at the Monsey Post Office on tax day.)