The IRS has announced that there are more than $1.3 billion in unclaimed tax refunds waiting nearly 1.4 million people who didn’t file their federal income tax return in 2006. If you did not file a tax return in 2006 (maybe because you were below required income limits) it may be in your best interest to file a 2006 return. If you are owed a refund from 2006 – you must file your return by Thursday, April 15, 2010. There are no tax penalties to file a late return in which you are owed a refund – so filing a 2006 return now to get your refund is not going to cost you anything.
Individuals who earn below certain limits are not required to file a tax return, but if they had federal taxes withheld from their wages, or made quarterly estimated payments – there’s a chance that these people are among those who are owed a tax refund. The law allows most taxpayers up to three years to file a return to claim a refund. If after three years, an individual who is owed a refund doesn’t claim it, the money becomes part of the United States Treasury fund.
How Much Might Your Refund Be?
The median unclaimed tax refund for individuals who are owed a refund but did not file for it in 2006 is $604.
If you did not file a tax return for the years 2007 or 2008, any refund owed for 2006 will be held until you file. The refund from 2006 (if you are owed one) will be first applied to any amounts you owe to the IRS from other years, student loan debts that are past due, or unpaid child support.
More Than a Refund Possible
In 2006, people who didn’t file a return could stand to lose more than just a refund of taxes they paid or had withheld in 2006. Most telephone and cellular phone customers qualified for a one time “telephone excise tax refund” in 2006, which was available only on that year’s tax return. Long distance excise taxes paid on phone bills between March 2003 and July 2006 was refunded in the amount of $30 to $60 per taxpayer; or a taxpayer could request the full amount of the actual long distance excise taxes paid if they had records.
The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is available for individuals and families with income below certain thresholds. In 2006, a family with two or more children would qualify if income was below $38,348; a family with one child would qualify for EITC with income under $34,001; and income under $14,120 qualifies for an individual without children. The Earned Income Tax Credit may be available to you in addition to a 2006 tax refund.
If you think you may be owed a refund from 2006 (or any other year for that matter) and did not file a return for that year, you can access previous year tax forms and their instructions at IRS.gov, or call 1-800-TAX-FORM. If you’re missing your 2006 W-2, 1098, 1099 or 5498 forms – contact your employer, bank or other payer for copies.