According to the IRS, there are around $1.3 billion in unclaimed refunds from the 2005 tax year. These unclaimed funds are for individuals who did not file a tax return in 2005. Due to the three-year look back, individuals have until April 15th, 2009 to claim these refunds or they may be gone for good.
IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman says, “especially in these tough economic times, people should not lose out on money that is rightfully theirs. People should check their records, especially if they had taxes withheld from their paychecks but were not required to file a tax return. They may be leaving money on the table, including valuable tax credits that can mean even more money in their pockets.”
The IRS estimates that half of those that could claim these refunds for the 2005 tax year would receive more that $581. Many of the individuals in this category had too little income to file a return but had taxes withheld from their wages or paid quarterly estimated taxes. There is no penalty assessed by the IRS for filing a late return qualifying for a refund.
Many low-income workers may not have claimed the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or even knew about it. Unmarried individuals that earned less than $35,263 in 2005 and had more than one qualifying child are eligible for the credit. Keep in mind that you must have earned income and not be able to be claimed by someone else in order to qualify for the credit. If you are single with one child the threshold is $31,030. If you are single with no children and at least 25 years old, you can qualify for the EITC with less than $11,750 in income. The rule on being claimed as a dependent also applies. These numbers are slightly increased for individuals filing married filing jointly.
Double check your 2005 taxes and make sure you filed if you were due a refund. If you didn’t file, get those returns in by April 15th of this year to get what you are owed!