Are You One of the 940,000 Taxpayers Owed $1B in IRS Refunds From 2021? Here’s What to Know – CNET

The IRS just might owe you money from your 2020 tax return — including a 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit — and the unclaimed refund is set to disappear in less than two months. If you didn’t file taxes in 2021 because you didn’t think you qualified, you forgot, or you simply didn’t want to deal with the stress of filing, the IRS could be holding onto some money for you. But the IRS won’t hang on to these funds for much longer. 

According to the IRS, it is holding more than $1 billion in unclaimed money for almost 940,000 taxpayers from 2020. The average missing refund size from 2021 is $932, and if you’re one of the many taxpayers who never claimed their 2020 refund, you don’t have much time left to act. By law, the IRS keeps these unclaimed tax refunds for three years. The agency usually transfers the money to the US Treasury after the deadline passes to claim your refund. 

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How can I claim my 2020 income tax refund from the IRS?

To claim a refund for 2020, you will need to submit your 2020 tax return through the mail. Most tax software publishers keep their prior years’ software available for three years. Tax software can help you complete IRS Form 1040 and all the other required forms and schedules, but it cannot e-file for you. You’ll need to print, sign and properly address the printed tax return, which needs to be postmarked no later than May 17, 2024 for most tax filers.

To file an old 2020 tax return, you’ll need to mail it to a specific regional IRS center listed on the last page of this year’s IRS Form 1040 instructions (these instructions are from last year’s filing season, but the addresses of the regional IRS centers are still valid). The address you need to use depends on the state or US territory in which you live.

The IRS notes that the agency may continue to hold your 2020 tax refund if you have not filed tax returns for 2021 and 2022.

What documents do I need to file my 2020 income tax return?

You can find the tax forms for 2020 on the IRS forms page. If you’re missing a W-2, 1098, 1099 or 5498 from 2019, the IRS recommends you request a copy from your employer or bank.

You can also order a free wage and income transcript from the IRS and then use the information from the transcript to file your tax return. To download an instant transcript, you’ll need to create an online IRS account if you don’t already have one.

Can my unclaimed refund be kept by the IRS to cover tax debt?

If you think you were due a refund from 2021 but you don’t receive one after you file your old tax return, all or part of your tax refund may have been offset, meaning it was used to pay past-due federal tax, state income tax, state unemployment compensation debts, child support, spousal support or other federal debts such as student loans.

Tax refund offsets that cover past-due federal taxes are managed by the IRS, and you should receive a notice from the agency explaining the offset. All other refund offsets are handled by the Bureau of Fiscal Services’ Treasury Offset Program, which should also send you a notice if your tax refund was used to pay debts.

If you don’t believe you owe back federal taxes and receive an offset notice from the IRS, you can call the agency at 800-829-1040 for more information. For all other debt-related tax return offsets, you can call the Treasury Offset Program at 800-304-3107 to find out more details.

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