U.S. Markets closed

Does the IRS Owe You Money?

Kimberly Lankford, Contributing Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance
The IRS says it has $1 billion in unclaimed tax refunds for 1 million taxpayers from 2013. But the deadline to claim it is April 18.

[QUESTION]I read that April 18 is the deadline to get a tax refund from previous years. I think I may be owed money from 2013. How do I claim a refund?

SEE ALSO: 10 Smart Uses for Your Tax Refund

[ANSWER]The IRS recently reported that it has more than $1 billion in unclaimed federal income tax refunds for about 1 million taxpayers who didn't file a 2013 federal income tax return, with a median refund value of $763. But the deadline is approaching -- you have only three years to file a return and claim a refund, so you must file your 2013 return by April 18, 2017, to get the money. After that, the money becomes the property of the U.S. Treasury.

Some people who are owed refunds may have been students or part-time workers who didn't earn enough money in that year to be required to file a tax return. But if you had any taxes withheld from your paychecks, you may be eligible for a refund if you file a return. There's no penalty for filing a late return if you didn't owe the IRS any money or are due a refund. You can also file more recent returns to get a refund now.

Some people who didn't file a return may also be eligible for the earned income tax credit, which was worth up to $6,269 in 2013 for families with three or more children and an adjusted gross income of less than $51,667 if married filing jointly, or $46,227 for single filers or heads of household. The size of the credit and the income limits to qualify are lower for people with fewer or no children. See the IRS Reminder to Taxpayers Who Haven't Filed 2013 Returns for that year's EITC income limits. For more information about the credit, see the IRS's Earned Income Tax Credit page.

For instructions and links to past years' tax forms, see the IRS's Help Yourself by Filing Past-Due Tax Returns.

SEE ALSO: 7 Ways You Can File Your Taxes Free

EDITOR'S PICKS

Copyright 2017 The Kiplinger Washington Editors