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IRS Has $2.4 Billion in Unclaimed Refunds

Part 1:  Money waiting for 1.6 million who failed to file returns in 1997 
 More of this Feature
• 2: State-by-State breakdown of refunds due
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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 Credit.

The tax law gives most taxpayers three years to claim a refund. The law also requires that these
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 refund.

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:
- 1998

- 1997 - 1996 - 1995 - 1994 - 1993 - 1992

Tax forms for the current (2000) tax year can be download here: 
2000 Tax Forms and Publications

You will need the free Adobe .pdf file reader to view and print all forms and instructions downloaded from the IRS. Download free Adobe .pdf file reader here.

You can also order tax forms by calling toll-free 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676). Taxpayers who need help preparing prior year returns or gathering income records may call the IRS help line at 1-800-829-1040.
To allow time for processing, forms and/or tax help should be requested by mid-March.

A state-by-state breakdown of 1997 refunds due is shown on the next page.

Next page > State-by-State Breakdown of Refunds > Page 1, 2


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