“Time is running out for more than a million people to get their tax refunds for 2019,” said IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel. “Many people may have overlooked filing a 2019 tax return due to the pandemic. We don’t want people to miss their window to receive their refund. We encourage people to check their records and act quickly before the deadline.”
That deadline is quickly approaching: July 17, 2023
The Three Year Rule
Refunds have to be claimed within three years or they are forfeited to the government. The unclaimed $1.4 billion comes from over 1 million taxpayers who still haven’t filed returns for the 2019 tax year. Often the people who leave these refunds behind are young adults, college students, senior citizens and low-income taxpayers.
What’s new this year is the July 17 deadline versus the traditional April 15 deadline due to a filing delay during the pandemic.
Why Refunds Go Unclaimed
Most readers of this June alert will breeze right past this friendly reminder. But not so fast, everyone who reads this tip probably knows of someone that will be donating their 2019 refund to the federal government. Here are some examples:
Forgetting withholdings. Even if you have very little income, your employer may have taken some money from your paycheck for federal tax withholdings. The only way to get it back is to file a tax return. This impacts part-time employees and students.
Not claiming refundable credits. Many tax credits are “refundable credits.” This means you can receive a refund even if you owe no income tax. Common examples available to students and parents are the earned income tax credit and the premium tax credit.
The IRS reminds taxpayers they may have money waiting for them. An estimated 1.3 million taxpayers didn’t file a 2017 Form 1040 federal income tax return and are due a refund.
Here are some things taxpayers should know about these unclaimed refunds:
- To collect the money, taxpayers must file their 2017 tax return with the IRS no later than this year’s tax deadline, Monday, May 17.
- When a taxpayer who is getting a refund does not file a return, the law gives them three years to claim that tax refund. If the taxpayer does not file a tax return within three years, the money goes back to the U.S. Treasury. For 2017 tax returns, the three-year window closes May 17, 2021.
If your 2018 federal return has already been filed and you are due a refund, you can check the status of your refund online.
“Where’s My Refund?” is an interactive tool on the IRS website at IRS.gov. Whether you have opted for direct deposit into one account, split your refund among several accounts, or asked the IRS to mail you a check, “Where’s My Refund?” will give you online access to your refund information nearly 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
If you e-file, you can get refund information within 24 hours after the IRS has acknowledged receipt of your return. Generally, refunds for e-filed returns are issued within 21 days. If you file a paper return, your refund information will be available within four weeks. When checking the status of your refund, have your federal tax return handy. To access your personalized refund information, you must enter:
Tax Reform – A Few Provisions In Track Changes
I often find it helpful to see how tax legislation changes existing Internal Revenue Code sections. So, I took a few and made the modifications called for in P.L. 115-97 (12/22/17) (the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act), and show how they change the relevant Code section using track changes. I also include the effective date information. For the changes to 448, I also include a caution about how the favorable methods changes don’t apply to “tax shelters” which could include some limited partnerships and LLCs even though they don’t act like a typical tax shelter.
Here are the ones I modified:
Section 1 – tax rates including kiddie tax change
Section 62 – changes to AGI
Section 163 – changes to mortgage interest and the new interest limitation for non-small entities (and tax shelters – see comment above)
With tax filing season out of the way, paying off those tax bills that weren’t paid by April 18th is the next major concern for people. While there are a few options for payment agreements if you can’t afford to write a check for the full amount immediately, there’s also the option of paying your tax bill with a credit card. It can be less confusing than navigating IRS payment plans, and if your credit card has a nice rewards program, then it’s something to think about.
Depending on how much you owe in taxes and what terms your credit card offers, it may or may not be worth putting your tax bill on your credit card. Here are some of the pros and cons of using a credit card to pay your taxes and why you would or wouldn’t want to pursue this option.
Get An Early Tax “Refund” By Adjusting Your Withholding
Each year, millions of taxpayers claim an income tax refund. To be sure, receiving a payment from the IRS for a few thousand dollars can be a pleasant influx of cash. But it means you were essentially giving the government an interest-free loan for close to a year, which isn’t the best use of your money.
Fortunately, there’s a way to begin collecting your 2018 refund now: You can review the amounts you’re having withheld and/or what estimated tax payments you’re making, and adjust them to keep more money in your pocket during the year. Read More
Non-resident corporations that have no activity in Canada during its fiscal year are not required to file a Canadian corporate tax return. However, without filing a Canadian corporate tax return, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will not know that you did not have activity in Canada. Therefore, CRA may send you a letter requesting that a return is required to be filed.
If CRA requests that a return be filed, even though your company had no activity in Canada, you may be tempted to file a return in order to be in compliance. Read More
US Expats – Have you filed your 2014 US Tax Return?
IRS Refunds worth $1.1 billion waiting to be claimed by those who have not filed 2014 federal income tax returns
Claim yours now before you are unable to do so – June 15 is the deadline for US Citizens Living Abroad
WASHINGTON ―Unclaimed federal income tax refunds totaling about $1.1 billion may be waiting for an estimated 1 million taxpayers who did not file a 2014 federal income tax return, according to the Internal Revenue Service.
If you happen to notice an automatic deposit made in your bank account from the IRS or you get a refund check in the mail that you weren’t expecting, you are likely the victim of the latest tax scam.
On February 13th, the IRS released a warning to alert taxpayers to a fast growing new scam that uses stolen taxpayer’s information to fraudulently file taxes then deposit refunds into real bank accounts.
Once Deposit Is Made, The Criminals Make Contact
The IRS makes it clear that the criminals use a variety of tactics to get the fraudulent refund from the taxpayers. And, as the IRS points out the tactics are probably evolving, so you’ll want to stay alert.
In one version of the scam, criminals posing as debt collection agency officials acting on behalf of the IRS contacted the taxpayers to say a refund was deposited in error, and they asked the taxpayers to forward the money to their collection agency. Read More
The IRS warns taxpayers of a new twist on an old scam. Criminals are depositing fraudulent tax refunds into individuals’ actual bank accounts, then attempting to reclaim the refund from the taxpayers.
Here are the basic steps criminals follow to carry out this scam. The thief:
- Hacks tax preparers’ computers to steal taxpayer data.
- Uses the stolen information to file tax returns as the taxpayers.
- Has refunds deposited into taxpayers’ bank accounts.
- Contacts their victims, telling them the money was mistakenly deposited into their accounts and asking them to return it.
Note that IRS will mail you notices and/or a check to the most recent address that it has on file for you. Of note:
Very often there may be a Ponzi Scheme financial theft, in which certain taxpayers have profited since they made early investments and were paid unusual profits that did not exist. Often taxpayers in Ponzi Schemes that have benefited from the financial loss of others are called upon by a trustee to forfeit the profits made in the Ponzi Scheme. Read More