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Paying taxes isn’t fun, but could you imagine paying taxes, and then basically donating your refund to the government because you missed a tax deadline? It happens to hundreds of thousands of people every year. And if you’re one of the 1.5 million people who haven’t claimed your tax refund from the Internal Revenue Service for the 2019 tax year, you’re missing out on an average payment of $900.
Normally, when it comes to claiming a tax refund, you have up to three years to do so. That means if you’re owed money from a past tax year, you have three years to file your tax return and claim that refund.
However, things changed a bit because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The IRS extended the deadline to file your 2019 tax return — but time is running out. We’ll tell you how to make sure you’re not owed any money, as well as what happens if you don’t claim it.
Nearly 1.5 million people haven’t claimed $1.5 billion from the 2019 tax year.
The IRS says the estimated 1.5 million people have an average of $893 in unclaimed tax refunds for the 2019 tax year — a total of around $1.5 billion.
Every tax year, about $1 billion to $1.5 billion in refunds goes unclaimed by taxpayers, due to people simply not filing their taxes (which is a big no-no, obviously).
Around the tax deadline every year, the IRS tries to remind taxpayers that they’ve gotta file now or forever miss out on their refund.
You only have until July 17, 2023, to file your 2019 returns (and find out how much you’re owed).
There’s only one way to find out if the IRS owes you any money: File your taxes. And for the purposes of the soon-expiring refunds, you’ve gotta file your 2019 taxes.
The three-year tax refund deadline for 2019 would’ve typically been this year’s tax day (April 15, 2023), but back in 2020, the government postponed that date by three months due to the chaos of Covid-19.
So… to qualify for the refund, you need to submit your 2019 tax return by July 17, 2023.
If you don’t claim your money, the government just keeps it.
What happens if you don’t file and claim your refund by the tax deadline? Unfortunately, the money becomes the property of the U.S. Treasury. So unless you want to make a donation to Uncle Sam — giving away that average refund of $900 — take the necessary steps to file your taxes.
RELATED: 10 Smart Ways to Use Your Tax Refund
You could get another $700+ if you paid late filing fees.
The IRS could owe you over $700 if you paid a late penalty after filing your taxes for 2019 or 2020. Due to government staff shortages during the pandemic, it was almost impossible to reach the IRS during this time, which caused more people than usual to file their taxes late.
So the IRS is providing relief by giving late-filers money back if they paid a late penalty in 2019 or 2020. If you qualify, you could have hundreds of dollars coming to you. Just go to the IRS website and check your refund status. We’ll tell you more about this late-filing refund.
Various companies could also owe you money, too.
We’re always keeping an eye out for the latest class-action settlements. These big lawsuits end with large companies making payouts to customers. Sometimes you need proof of purchase, and sometimes all you have to do is file a claim (but false claims are fraud, so don’t do that).
There’s an ongoing settlement for users of the PACER electronic public records platform for $125 million, for instance, so you should take a look.