Nearly $1 billion in unclaimed tax refunds could go back to the government

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(March 11, 2016) – Nearly $1 billion in federal income tax refunds could end up going right back to the government unless the money is claimed by this year’s tax deadline.

The Internal Revenue Service said the estimated $950 million belongs to one million taxpayers who failed to file a tax return in 2012. In order to claim the money, a return must be filed no later than this year’s tax deadline on April 18, 2016.

The potential refund is $718, according to the IRS, with half of available refunds being worth more than that and half being worth less.

The IRS said most taxpayers are given a three-year window to claim a refund in cases where taxes weren’t filed. If the refunded money isn’t claimed, the money goes to the U.S. Treasury.

Taxpayers hoping to get their 2012 refund may not be able to claim the money if they haven’t filed returns in 2013 and 2014. The refund will also be applied to any amounts taxpayers may owe the IRS or state. It could also go to offset unpaid child support or past due federal debts like student loans.

Current and prior year tax forms (such as the Tax Year 2012 Form 1040, 1040A and 1040EZ) and instructions are available on the Forms and Publications page, or by calling toll-free: 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676). Taxpayers who are missing Forms W-2, 1098, 1099 or 5498 for the years 2012, 2013 or 2014 should request copies from their employer, bank or other payer.

Taxpayers who are unable to get missing forms should go to and use the “Get a Transcript by Mail” button to order a paper copy of their transcript and have it sent to their address of record. Taxpayers can also file Form 4506-T to request a transcript of their tax return. Taxpayers can use the information on the transcript to file their return.

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