IRS: Claim your tax refundsThe IRS has announced it has unclaimed refunds totaling $1,647,000 for approximately 2,000 North Dakota residents who did not file a federal income tax return for 2005. Nationally, approximately $1.3 billion is awaiting claim from more than a million people. However, to collect the money, a return for 2005 must be filed with the IRS no later than April 15.
The IRS has announced it has unclaimed refunds totaling $1,647,000 for approximately 2,000 North Dakota residents who did not file a federal income tax return for 2005. Nationally, approximately $1.3 billion is awaiting claim from more than a million people. However, to collect the money, a return for 2005 must be filed with the IRS no later than April 15.
“We understand many people are experiencing financial distress these days which is all the more reason they should not lose out on this money,” said IRS Spokesperson Carrie Resch. “If you had taxes withheld from your paycheck but were not required to file a tax return you may be missing out on money. This refund, combined with other overlooked tax credits from that year, could add up very nicely for anyone, but especially for taxpayers who are having a hard time making ends meet.”
The IRS estimates that half of the North Dakotans who could claim refunds for tax year 2005 would receive more than $553. Some individuals may not have filed because they had too little income to require filing a tax return. The amount of income a taxpayer can have before being required to file a return varies by filing status and age. Generally for 2005, single taxpayers with income below $9,450, heads of household with income below $11,750 and married couples with income below $18,400 may not have been required to file. These people should, however, review their 2005 earnings statements or W-2s to see if tax was withheld but went unclaimed because they didn’t file a tax return for the refund.
In cases where a return was not filed, the law provides most taxpayers with a three-year window of opportunity for claiming a refund. If no return is filed to claim the refund within three years, the money becomes property of the U.S. Treasury. For 2005 returns, the window closes on April 15. The law requires that the return be properly add-ressed, postmarked and mailed by that date.
There is no penalty for filing a late return that qualifies for a refund.
The IRS reminds taxpayers seeking a 2005 refund that their checks will be held if they have not filed tax returns for 2006 or 2007. In addition, the refund will be applied to any amounts still owed to the IRS and may be used to satisfy unpaid child support or past due federal debts such as student loans.
By failing to file a return, individuals stand to lose more than refunds of taxes withheld or paid during 2005. Many low-income workers may not have claimed the Earned Income Tax Credit. Generally, un-married individuals qualified for the EITC if in 2005 they earned less than $35,263 and had more than one qualifying child living with them. Limits are slightly higher for married individuals filing jointly. The $1.6 million in unclaimed refunds from North Dakota does not include the EITC. In 2005, about 38,400 North Dakotans claimed $64 million through the EITC, but typically, about 20 to 25 percent of people who qualify for EITC fail to claim it each year. The average Earned Income credit that year for those who did claim it in North Dakota was $1,671.
Current and prior year tax forms and instructions are available on the Forms and Publications Web page of IRS.gov or by calling 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676). Information about the Earned Income Tax Credit and how to claim it is also available on IRS.gov. Taxpayers who need help also can call the toll-free IRS help line at 1-800-829-1040.