If you are one of about 1.6 million people who failed to file a tax return in
1997, the IRS is looking for you. No, wait. You're not in trouble. Fact is, IRS
may owe you money!
According to an IRS press release of Jan. 16, 2001,
a total of $2.4 billion in refunds is owed to people who failed to file U.S.
federal income tax returns in 1997. If that's you, the IRS wants you to have
your money, but to get it, you must file a return with an IRS office no later
than April 16, 2001.
According to the IRS, most money not refunded to tax
payers within three years of the annual deadline for filing taxes becomes the
property of the U.S. Treasury. You snooze, you lose.
About half of the refunds
that could be claimed are less than $464, according to IRS estimates. While some
people had too little income to require filing a return, they may have had taxes
withheld from their paychecks that would have been refunded. Others may not have
had any tax withheld, but would be eligible for the refundable Earned Income Tax
The tax law gives most taxpayers three years to claim a refund. The
law also requires
returns be properly addressed, postmarked, and mailed by that date (April 16,
2001). There is no penalty for filing a late return if it qualifies for a
The catch? Some people who did not file returns in 1997, may not have
filed in 1998 or 1999, either. The IRS reminds taxpayers seeking a 1997 refund that their checks will be
held if they have not filed tax returns for 1998 or 1999. 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.
If you need 1997 tax
forms, or forms from pervious years, you can download them here:
1999 - 1998