PCs are paying off
Markey goes after Internet tax malarkey

Refund time running out

What's up with you Californians? I know you've got the beaches in the south and wine country up north to keep you occupied, but can't you find some time to file your tax returns?

I'm talking specifically about your 2003 tax returns. Seems that about 200,000 of you Golden Staters didn't get around to turning in that paperwork three years ago.

And by ignoring your tax tasks back then, you left more than $236 million in Uncle Sam's hands.

Taxrefundcheck_2_5 But those left coast residents aren't alone. They're just part of (albeit the largest part of) 1.75 million taxpayers who missed out on refunds for the 2003 tax year because they didn't file a return. Nonfilers are found in every state, the District of Columbia, U.S. territories and at various military postings.

All told, almost $2.2 billion in unfiled-for refund money is just sitting there, unclaimed.

The good news: They all can get their old refunds.

The bad news: They've got to file that '03 return by this April 17.

Federal law gives you a three-year window of opportunity from the original filing deadline, which was April 2004, to claim old refunds. After this April due date, the window slams shut and the U.S. Treasury gets to keep your cash.

The median 2003 refund, meaning that half of the taxpayers are owed more and half less, is $611. While most nonfilers are in California, the biggest median check amount goes to New Hampshire residents: $709.

You can check this IRS Web page to see how many folks in your state didn't file three years ago and what the agency says is the median check amount there.

If you're one of these folks, set aside your 2006 return for a minute and get to work on that 2003 Form 1040! It's not that hard; you can get 2003 forms and instructions here.

And do it soon. This oversight is even worse than simply over-withholding during one tax year. You've given the guv'ment three-plus years of an interest free loan!

At least get your principal back.


Or kiss it goodbye forever.


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