While most taxpayers are focused on submitting their 2020 income returns, Jackson Hewitt Tax Service is reminding taxpayers who haven’t filed a 2017 tax return that this is the last chance to claim this money – before the deadline, when tax season ends on May 17, 2021. According to the Internal Revenue Service, there are an estimated 1.3 million taxpayers who are owed a total of $1.3 billion in unclaimed refunds for tax year 2017. The IRS estimates that the refund amount of more than half of the unfiled returns is greater than $865.
“The IRS always has a three-year window for filing a federal tax return and 2017’s money is waiting to be claimed. To be clear: this $1.3 billion is just from unclaimed tax refunds for taxpayers who haven’t filed yet, even though these taxpayers paid taxes throughout the year through withholdings,” said Mark Steber, Chief Tax Information Officer at Jackson Hewitt. “Taxes are complicated enough and worrying about filing past tax returns only adds to the complexity. It’s important to work with trusted Tax Pros to help navigate any complex tax issues that may arise for taxpayers.”
In addition to the money that taxpayers may be owed for the 2017 tax return, they may also qualify for large refundable tax credits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, which is worth as much as $6,318 to eligible taxpayers, as well as the Child Tax Credit, and American Opportunity Credit. If taxpayers don’t file their 2017 income taxes before the deadline, the money will become property of the U.S. Treasury after May 17.
According to the IRS, taxpayers who are missing Forms W-2, 1098, 1099 or 5498 for the years 2017, 2018, or 2019 should request copies from their employer, bank, or other payer. Taxpayers who are unable to get missing forms from their employer or other payer can order a free wage and income transcript at IRS.gov using the Get Transcript Online tool or visit their trusted tax professional for additional guidance.
There are taxpayers in all 50 states who are potentially owed refunds from previous years. For taxpayers who think that they had too little income to require filing, there is a good chance that money was withheld that may now be available to them as a refund. Taxpayers will not incur any late filing penalty and will be able to receive their refund if they file a return by May 17, 2021. Jackson Hewitt reminds taxpayers that their refund checks may be held if they haven’t filed their 2018 and 2019 returns, so they should file those as well.