With so many people on the financial edge needing tax relief, it’s hard to imagine anyone not already claiming a previous tax refund. Yet every year, millions of dollars in refunds remain accounted for even after many attempts to track down the taxpayers are unsuccessful. A recent IRS bulletin gives information on how entitled taxpayers can file to collect their slice of $1 billion dollars in unclaimed 2008 refunds. But time is running out – the deadline to file 2008 tax returns is April 17, 2012.
Many of the entitled taxpayers were probably not aware they had any money coming to them because they made so little money in the 2008 tax year, even though taxes were withheld from their pay. These same people, generally the financially vulnerable, often don’t have bank accounts and use financial institutions such as check cashing services for their banking needs. Reaching them has been a big challenge for the IRS. For example, over 100 thousand of these entitled taxpayers could not be found because of mail address errors.
Taxpayers get a three year window to claim their refund, but after that, this money becomes the property of the U.S. Treasury. Here are the points the IRS wants you to know if you have an outstanding 2008 refund to claim:
- File your taxes with irs.gov or use a certified tax preparer. The IRS is offering free tax preparation help. Check out the IRS.gov website for information on a location near you.
- 2008 late filer tax refunds are an approximate average of $637 per taxpayer.
- The return must be properly addressed, mailed and postmarked by the April 17, 2012 date. There are no penalties for a late return that qualifies for a refund.
- Taxpayers won’t receive their refund until 2009 and 2010 taxes are filed and paid. The 2008 refund may be used to offset unpaid child support payments or past due federal debts such as student loans.
- Taxpayers who are missing Forms W-2, 1098, 1099 or 5498 for 2008, 2009 or 2010 need to request copies from their employer, bank or other payer. Free transcripts showing information from these year-end documents are available on IRS.gov.
- Taxpayers are also encouraged to seek out programs aimed at helping individuals and families such as the Recovery Rebate Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Current and prior year tax forms and instructions are available on the Forms and Publications page of IRS.gov. Additional contact information is also included on their website.
By failing to file a return, you can be guaranteed to lose more than a tax refund, making the situation worse and more expensive over time; including 25% in penalties and interest. It’s better to devise a plan for IRS debt relief and take a proactive approach to tax resolution but it requires your participation. Act now!
More Tax Help, IRS News and Tax Relief Tips:
- Delinquent and Unfiled Tax Returns? 8 Steps to Resolving Them
- Ask the Certified Tax Specialist – Small Business Back Taxes
- Treasury Proposes Multilateral Agreement for Offshore Compliance
- Finding Tax Help for IRS Tax Debt
- Tax Resolution Services Offers Returning Veterans Free Tax Advice
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