Last week the IRS issued a press release announcing that refunds totaling just over $917 million may be waiting for an estimated 984,400 taxpayers who didn't file a federal income tax return in 2009.
Take a moment and think back to 2009. For many Americans, the year represented mounds of uncertainty and record breaking highs in unemployment. If you were like some people, you may not have filed a tax return because you had too little income to require a need to file even though you had taxes withheld from your wages. Or, maybe you were able to make a few quarterly estimated payments, but for whatever reason still did not file. Well, if that was you, the IRS just might owe you some money and its estimated that half of the potential refunds are at least $500.
In cases where a return was not filed, by law you have a three-year window to claim your refund. And the great part is that there is no penalty for filing a late return qualifying for a refund. If no return is filed to claim a refund within those three years, the money simply becomes property of the U.S. Treasury.
If you fail to file that 2009 return, you could also stand to lose more than the refund of taxes withheld or paid during 2009; you could miss out on the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), as well. This credit helps individuals and families whose incomes are below certain thresholds, therefore many low-and-moderate income workers might be losing a credit worth as much as a whopping $5,657.
If you believe you could be one of the nearly one million people who are due a refund, get on it! You must file a 2009 tax return no later than Monday, April 15, 2013. Make sure that the return is properly addressed, mailed and postmarked by that date.
Now, let's be clear: If you're looking for that 2009 refund, but haven't filed returns in 2010 or 2011, your check may be held until those are completed. Or, if you owe the IRS or their state tax agency, unpaid child support or past due federal debts such as student loans, your refund will be used to offset those balances first. Either way, it could be wise to file especially if you're pretty positive you don't have to worry about owing any thing. Either you can get at least $500 to contribute toward savings and paying off debt voluntarily or you can involuntary have some of your federal debts paid off on your behalf. Either way, you end up in less debt and peace of mind knowing that you're getting your financial house back in order!