Refunds totaling more than $12.8 million may be waiting for 15,200 taxpayers who did not file a federal income tax return for 2008. The Internal Revenue Service estimates that half of these potential 2008 refunds are $584 or more.
“Some people may not have filed because they had too little income to require filing a tax return even though they had taxes withheld from their wages or made quarterly estimated payments,” said IRS spokesperson Carrie Resch.
Resch said in cases where a 2008 return was not filed, the law provides most taxpayers with a three-year window of opportunity for claiming a refund. That window closes on April 17, 2012 and if no return is filed to claim a refund, the money becomes property of the U.S. Treasury. There is no penalty for filing a late return qualifying for a refund.
By failing to file a return, taxpayers may lose more than a refund of taxes withheld. Low-and-moderate income workers may not have claimed the Earned Income Tax Credit, which in 2008 could have been worth as much as $4,716 for those with two or more qualifying children.
The IRS reminds taxpayers seeking a 2008 refund that their checks will be held if they have not filed tax returns for 2009 and 2010. In addition, the refund will be applied to any amounts still owed to the IRS and may be used to offset unpaid child support or past due federal debts such as student loans.
Current and prior year tax forms and instructions are available on the Forms and Publications page of IRS.gov or by calling toll-free 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676).
Taxpayers who are missing Forms W-2, 1098, 1099 or 5498 for 2008, 2009 or 2010 should request copies from their employer, bank or other payer.
If these efforts are unsuccessful, taxpayers can get a free transcript showing information from these year-end documents by ordering online at www.irs.gov, calling 1-800-908-9946 or by filing Form 4506-T, Request for Transcript of Tax Return, with the IRS.