Forget 2008 returns; check '05 taxes, too
Tuesday, April 07, 2009
We're just a week away from the tax return deadline, but for some, it could be a double due date.
Earlier this year, the IRS announced that it had $1.3 billion in unclaimed refunds from the 2005 tax year. Uncle Sam is happy to send that money to its rightful owners as long as they send in a return for that year.
Here's the important part -- not that $1.3 billion isn't important -- but to get any 2005 refund to which you might be entitled, you've got to get that old Form 1040 to the IRS by this April 15.
If you don't, the Treasury gets to keep your money.
Breaking down the overdue dollars: The IRS estimates that the median refund amount -- meaning half of the checks will be larger and half smaller -- is $581.
The money is owed to nonfiling taxpayers in every state and the District of Columbia, as well as to residents of U.S. territories and military filers who didn't file 2005 returns.
Below is a list of the 10 states with the most missing returns for tax year 2005.
New Hampshire didn't make the top 10 as far as number of nonfilers, but it has the largest median check to hand out: $667.
Technically, though, the biggest possible check -- an estimated $800 -- could go military personnel. Their filing data are calculated separately since they are stationed worldwide.
File now or forever miss out: There's no penalty for not filing a return when you don't owe. But on the other hand, if the IRS owes you, you won't get your money unless you file.
And the law says you must do so within three years of the original return's due date. For those 2005 returns, that was April 15, 2006. And your three-year window of refund collection is rapidly closing.
If you didn't file back then, do so by next week. You can download 2005 returns and instructions to do the job.
More information on this last-chance refund opportunity is in my earlier blog post, as well as in the IRS' announcement of the unclaimed money.
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