For individuals who have not filed federal income tax returns for 2015, the window of opportunity is closing soon.

Unclaimed income tax refunds totaling almost $1.4 billion may be waiting for an estimated 1.2 million taxpayers who did not file a 2015 Form 1040 federal income tax return, according to the Internal Revenue Service.

To collect the money, these taxpayers must file their 2015 tax returns with the IRS no later than this year’s tax deadline, Monday, April 15, except for taxpayers in Maine and Massachusetts, who have until April 17.

“We’re trying to connect over a million people with their share of $1.4 billion in potentially unclaimed refunds for 2015,” said IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig. “Students, part-time workers, and many others may have overlooked filing for 2015. And there’s no penalty for filing a late return if you’re due a refund.”

The IRS estimates the midpoint for the potential refunds for 2015 to be $879 — that is, half of the refunds are more than $879 and half are less. To give an example, in North Carolina 37,100 individuals could be eligible for a median potential amount of $831 out of a possible total of $39,955,000 (excluding credits). See the table below for a state-by-state listing.

When Is The Deadline For Claiming A Refund for 2015?

In cases where a federal income tax return was not filed, the law provides most taxpayers with a three-year window of opportunity to claim a tax refund. If they do not file a tax return within three years, the money becomes the property of the U.S. Treasury. For 2015 tax returns, the window closes April 15, 2019, for most taxpayers. The law requires taxpayers to properly address, mail, and ensure the tax return is postmarked by that date.

The IRS reminds taxpayers seeking a 2015 tax refund that their checks may be held if they have not filed tax returns for 2016 and 2017. In addition, the refund will be applied to any amounts still owed to the IRS or a state tax agency and may be used to offset unpaid child support or past due federal debts, such as student loans.

Failing To File Could Result In Other Losses

By failing to file a tax return, people stand to lose more than just their refund of taxes withheld or paid during 2015. Many low- and moderate-income workers may be eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). For 2015, the credit was worth as much as $6,242. The EITC helps individuals and families whose incomes are below certain thresholds. The thresholds for 2015 were:

  • $47,747 ($53,267 if married filing jointly) for those with three or more qualifying children
  • $44,454 ($49,974 if married filing jointly) for people with two qualifying children
  • $39,131 ($44,651 if married filing jointly) for those with one qualifying child
  • $14,820 ($20,330 if married filing jointly) for people without qualifying children

What Information Is Needed To File And Where To Get It

Taxpayers who are missing Forms W-2, 1098, 1099, or 5498 for the years 2015, 2016, or 2017 should request copies from their employer, bank, or other payer. Taxpayers who are unable to get missing forms from their employer or other payer can order a free wage and income transcript at IRS.gov using the Get Transcript Online tool. Alternatively, they can file Form 4506-T to request a wage and income transcript. A wage and income transcript shows data from information returns received by the IRS, such as Forms W-2, 1099, 1098, Form 5498, and IRA contribution information. Taxpayers can use the information from the transcript to file their tax return.

Taxpayers may also contact a tax professional to seek help in filing back tax returns.

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Tax Help Advisors are your Certified Tax Resolution Specialists offering services in business tax resolution, tax relief, back taxes, foreign taxes, federal & state tax compliance, and IRS notices and audits.

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State-by-state estimates of individuals who may be due 2015 income tax refunds:

State or Estimated Median Total
District Number of Potential Potential
Individuals Refund Refunds*
Arizona 27,300 $780 $29,486,000
Arkansas 11,200 $824 $12,000,000
California 111,200 $832 $124,397,000
Colorado 23,500 $824 $26,173,000
Connecticut 12,700 $952 $15,981,000
Delaware 4,800 $886 $5,570,000
District of Columbia 3,400 $918 $4,219,000
Florida 84,000 $887 $95,697,000
Georgia 41,100 $799 $44,754,000
Hawaii 7,000 $935 $8,523,000
Idaho 5,200 $712 $5,209,000
Illinois 45,800 $924 $54,804,000
Indiana 26,900 $895 $30,670,000
Iowa 12,300 $913 $13,737,000
Kansas 12,700 $874 $14,283,000
Kentucky 15,700 $874 $17,246,000
Louisiana 22,600 $884 $26,759,000
Maine 4,700 $806 $4,820,000
Maryland 25,700 $897 $31,274,000
Massachusetts 26,100 $973 $32,579,000
Michigan 39,700 $873 $45,535,000
Minnesota 18,000 $813 $19,222,000
Mississippi 11,200 $814 $12,032,000
Missouri 27,000 $825 $29,008,000
Montana 4,100 $831 $4,521,000
Nebraska 6,300 $870 $6,923,000
Nevada 13,700 $867 $15,728,000
New Hampshire 5,500 $976 $6,859,000
New Jersey 33,100 $960 $41,353,000
New Mexico 8,600 $860 $9,950,000
New York 62,500 $964 $77,662,000
North Carolina 37,100 $831 $39,955,000
North Dakota 3,700 $980 $4,493,000
Ohio 43,600 $852 $47,428,000
Oklahoma 19,100 $886 $22,006,000
Oregon 17,900 $779 $19,118,000
Pennsylvania 46,000 $934 $53,541,000
Rhode Island 3,300 $949 $4,025,000
South Carolina 14,600 $777 $15,701,000
South Dakota 3,300 $928 $3,646,000
Tennessee 24,000 $853 $25,976,000
Texas 129,300 $929 $158,244,000
Utah 9,300 $791 $9,859,000
Vermont 2,200 $876 $2,388,000
Virginia 32,900 $867 $38,441,000
Washington 32,400 $939 $40,142,000
West Virginia 5,900 $948 $6,979,000
Wisconsin 16,100 $787 $16,532,000
Wyoming 3,300 $958 $3,964,000
Totals 1,197,600 $879 $1,379,412,000

*Excluding credits.

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