Most of us file a tax return every year because we have to. But there are a significant number of adults who don't need to file on a given year for various reasons; usually because they didn't make much money. This includes many college students and people who only work part-time.
While it would be nice to avoid the hassle of paperwork, those who don't file are potentially missing out on a refund that they are entitled to. If the return isn't filed within three years, the U.S. Treasury gets to keep the money. Recently, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen reminded the public that those who did not file in 2011 must claim their refund before April 15 of this year or lose it forever.
According to the Internal Revenue Service, about $1 billion in refunds have not been claimed for 2011 by an estimated 1 million non-filing taxpayers. Here in Connecticut, it is estimated that 13,450 individuals failed to file a 2011 return, losing out on an average refund of $777. All told, those Connecticut taxpayers are risking $13.4 million if they choose not to file.
Of course, keeping track of important tax documents from just last year can be challenging enough. Those who have to dig up paperwork from 2011 may be wondering if it's worth the trouble. But if you ask most taxpayers, a refund of more than $700 would definitely be worth the time and effort.
We are now just over a month away from the filing deadline for 2014 tax returns, not to mention the absolute deadline for 2011 returns. No matter what tax or IRS matters you are struggling with, you may wish to seek the help of an experienced tax law attorney.
Source: Accounting Today, "IRS Has $1 Billion in Refunds Waiting for Taxpayers Who Didn’t File for 2011," Michael Cohn, March 11, 2015