The IRS just announced that there are roughly $1.5 billion in tax refunds just sitting there waiting to be claimed from tax year 2019. This is due to a large number of people that didn’t file their 2019 tax returns. Depending on what state you’re from, the amount you could potentially receive will vary and the amount of people who are estimated to receive refunds will also vary. In this article we’ll take a look at some of the details surrounding these refunds, whether or not you might receive them, and how to do so.
When is the deadline to receive these refunds?
The IRS states that the official deadline to receive a refund on your unclaimed 2019 tax return is July 17, 2023. Normally, the date to receive them would have already passed and would have fallen in April sometime in 2020, however, the covid-19 pandemic pushed this back. IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel states:
“With the pandemic taking place when the 2019 tax returns were originally due, people faced extremely unusual situations. People may have simply forgotten about tax refunds with the deadline that year postponed all the way into July. 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.”
We all know by now that the pandemic was hard on everyone, so it makes sense that if the deadline for filing was postponed for any year, it would be 2019.
What are the estimates of who will receive a refund?
The IRS was helpful enough to include a list of an estimate on who might receive one of the unclaimed refunds. This is divided by state, number of individuals, amount, and total amount. Note that this list does not account for credits:
|State or District||Estimated Number of Individuals||Median Potential Refund||Total Potential Unclaimed Refunds *|
|District of Columbia||4,400||$887||$4,550,100|
Where should you start?
Considering that the unclaimed refunds in question are from tax year 2019, you might not know where to start. Gathering the required documents to file for another tax year can be tricky, especially if you haven’t finished filing for this year. Tax Day for the 2022 tax year is less than a week away, so it might be smart to wait until you’ve filed for this year before filing for 2019. Remember, the deadline for the 2019 tax year is July 17, so you have a few months left to file and potentially receive an unclaimed refund. There is also the option to request an extension until October 15, which would allow for more time to file both.
Regardless of what route you choose, the IRS listed some ways you can be sure to get the required documents for your 2019 tax return. Here are the options they recommend you follow:
- 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 Get Transcript Online at IRS.gov. 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.
- Or 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 data from information 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. But plan ahead – these written requests can take several weeks; people are strongly urged to try the other options first.
Remember, just because the deadline has been extended much further than normal, the 2019 tax year is still just that, a tax year. All of the procedures you would follow normally each tax season should still be followed. Also keep in mind that you might not be guaranteed the ability to claim a refund. The estimates above are still just estimates and are not confirmed to be 100% accurate, neither is it confirmed that you will be one of the individuals to receive an unclaimed refund.