For many people in the United States, the annual tax season means they will get a refund from the Internal Revenue Service. However, some people may not receive a refund or file a tax return if they have low earnings. However, even those who find themselves in the aforementioned situations may be eligible for a tax refund payment. The Internal Revenue Service had $153 million worth of undelivered and unclaimed refunds that it did not issue in 2011. The average amount per unclaimed income tax refund is $3,116, which is a sum many Americans cannot afford to not pursue.
Undelivered Income Tax Refunds
Annually, the Internal Revenue Service issues refunds to approximately 30 million taxpayers. In some cases, the paper refund checks are sent to the incorrect address, and the post office returns them to the IRS. In other cases, checks become lost in the post office's system, so the taxpayer never receives them. Anyone who files a written tax return or opts for a paper check and did not get a refund should ensure the IRS has the right address on file.
Unclaimed Income Tax Refunds
Low-income wage earners who do not make enough to file an income tax return may still receive a tax refund. The EITC, or Earned Income Tax Credit, is a credit that the government offers low-income taxpayers whether or not taxes are deducted from their earnings. Eligibility for this tax credit depends on the filer's income; the income limit depends on the filer's filing status and household size.
Taxpayers who have an unclaimed income tax refund should contact the Internal Revenue Service. If filers do not file their unclaimed taxes within three years of the tax year under which the income is earned, they will be ineligible to receive a refund for said taxes. For instance, taxpayers must claim their income tax refunds from 2015 by 2018. After 2018, the United States Department of Treasury keeps the money. The IRS does not charge penalties for filing a late tax return if the return results in a refund.
How to Handle an Unclaimed or Undelivered Income Tax Refund
If a tax refund is unclaimed because of an incorrect address, the filer can update his address on the Internal Revenue Service's website. The site has a feature called Where's My Refund. This feature will prompt the user to provide his new address in the event the IRS was unable to contact him in the previous 12 months. A taxpayer can also update his address manually by filling out Form 8862. The taxpayer can print this form on the IRS' website, or he can call the IRS to request the form via postal mail.
The taxpayer can also seek assistance from his tax preparer if the Internal Revenue Service has not issued his tax refund. Sometimes, a refund is delayed due to incorrect information on the filer's tax return. Often, the filer can correct this information by calling the IRS. If the filer must complete additional forms, he can get them from the Internal Revenue Service's website or by calling the IRS.
Preventing Future Undelivered Tax Refunds
The most common reason for undelivered income tax refunds is due to incorrect postal addresses on file with the Internal Revenue Service. Therefore, it is crucial for filers to confirm the IRS has the right address. Incorrect banking information is another common reason for undelivered refunds, so taxpayers should always check the routing and account number they provide for direct deposit of their refund.
Inaccurate information on a tax return may cause the Internal Revenue Service to reject the return. In the event of a rejected return, the filer can correct the issues and resubmit his return. The IRS will not charge a taxpayer for amending and resubmitting an income tax return.
The Where's My Refund feature on the Internal Revenue Service's website lets filers track their refund status. After inputting the required information, filers will see three stages in the refund process: return received, return approved and refund sent. As long as all of the information on the tax return is correct, taxpayers usually receive their refund in three weeks. Those who e-file and opt for direct deposit generally get their refund in less time.
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