WASHINGTON — Time is running out for taxpayers to cash in on the $1.5 billion unclaimed tax refunds from 2019.
The IRS issued its annual reminder for taxpayers to claim their old tax refunds, setting a deadline of July 17.
Taxpayers have a three-year window to claim refunds from previous years and deadlines tend to fall in April. However, the three-year window for taxes from 2019 was postponed to July because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
If a taxpayer doesn't file their returns within the three-year window, the money becomes property of the U.S. treasury.
“The 2019 tax returns came due during the pandemic, and many people may have overlooked or forgotten about these refunds,” said IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel in a press release. “We frequently see students, part-time workers and others with little income overlook filing a tax return and never realize they may be owed a refund. We encourage people to review their records and start gathering records now, so they don’t run the risk of missing the July deadline.”
The agency estimates the median amount owed to taxpayers from 2019 to be $893. That means half of the refunds are more than $893 and half are less.
The state with the highest estimated median refund is New Hampshire at $974. The lowest is Idaho at $758.
In addition, some of those who did not file a 2019 return could be eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit, which was worth up to $6,557 for that tax year. The EITC income thresholds for 2019 were as follows:
- $50,162 ($55,952 if married filing jointly) for those with three or more qualifying children;
- $46,703 ($52,493 if married filing jointly) for people with two qualifying children;
- $41,094 ($46,884 if married filing jointly) for those with one qualifying child, and;
- $15,570 ($21,370 if married filing jointly) for people without qualifying children.
Forms 1040s, 1040-As and 1040-EZs for 2018 can be found on IRS.gov.
Can I file a 2019 tax return in 2023?
Taxpayers looking to file their 2019 return before the July 17 deadline have several tools at hand from the IRS.
It's been several years since 2019, so the tax agency recommends taxpayers to gather the information needed for filing a return well before the deadline. It's important to note that refunds may be held for those who have yet to file a 2020 and 2021 return.
Additionally, the IRS said refunds will be applied to any amounts owed to them or a state tax agency. They could also be applied to offset unpaid child support or past due federal debts, including student loans.
IRS tips on filing a past return:
- Request copies of key documents: Taxpayers who are missing Forms W-2, 1098, 1099 or 5498 for the years 2019, 2020 or 2021 can request copies from their employer, bank or other payers.
- Use IRS tool to get wage and income transcript: Taxpayers who are unable to get those missing forms from their employer or other payers can order a free wage and income transcript at IRS.gov using the Get Transcript Online tool. For many taxpayers, this is by far the quickest and easiest option.
- Request a transcript: Another option is for people to file Form 4506-T with the IRS to request a “wage and income transcript.” A wage and income transcript shows information from returns received by the IRS, such as Forms W-2, 1099, 1098, Form 5498 and IRA contribution information. Taxpayers can use the information from the transcript to file their tax return. This process may take several weeks, so the IRS recommends requesting a transcript early on.