Guest Post by Kristen Baker
Every year, roughly one million Americans have unclaimed tax refunds from the IRS that are due to expire. In four of the last five years, these unclaimed returns have totaled more than $1 billion. With last year’s median tax return at $879, the annual median has risen for six consecutive years.
Unfortunately, many people don’t even know that they may be owed money by the IRS. Luckily, the IRS releases the data every year in March, giving taxpayers just enough time to claim before Tax Day on April 15th. What could you do with an extra $500 or more? Below are steps to determine if you have an unclaimed tax return and how to claim it if you do.
Key Takeaway: Pay attention to the details.
You might be missing a refund because:
Best practices for filing:
Whether you’re young or old, wealthy or poor, anyone can be missing a tax refund. In some cases you may have made a mistake while filing and in others you may not even be aware. These are a few reasons why you may be missing a return:
First, you should review your last several tax filings to see if any are missing. Even if they’re all there, however, that doesn’t mean that you can’t claim a larger refund. You can still file an amended tax return to claim deductions like the EITC and others.
If you suspect that you have unclaimed tax money waiting for you, or even if you’re unsure, all you have to do is file a return for the specific year. Luckily, the IRS gives you a three-year period to file for any unclaimed returns. This year, you can go back as far as 2016.
Whether it’s filing for past years, or even this year and beyond, there are several best practices to make the process easier.
Tax season can be stressful as you begin to file your return. However, by taking the proper steps, you can prepare yourself for success. Make the most of your tax return this year and don’t forget to check for any unclaimed refunds from years past.
Kristen Baker is a personal finance enthusiast and content creator. Outside of work, she thoroughly enjoys taking her dog to “Dogs Allowed” coffee shops, reading, and admiring art exhibitions.
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