If you have a federal unclaimed tax refund for a previous tax year due to incorrect banking or address information, you will need to contact the Internal Revenue Service. You can do this in one of two ways.
For the first option, you can log into your online IRS account online. Once logged in, provide your updated banking and address information. If you are unable to log into your account, then you will need to either call the IRS to update your information or mail a completed Form 8822 (change of address form).
Your other options are to call the IRS or visit your local state office for assistance. Similarly to the above method, you will need to provide your personal information and your updated address or banking details.
If you have an unclaimed tax refund because you did not file your taxes for a year you were eligible for a return, you must file that return. There are multiple ways you can file a return for a previous year:
- Use a tax service provider.
- Use a tax-filing software.
- Visit the IRS website and print and complete all applicable tax forms. You will need to submit these forms by mail.
For unclaimed tax refunds for state taxes, you will need to contact your state’s Department of Revenue for more details. Each state has its own refund and claims process, including the amount of time it will take to receive your refund after filing a claim.
Many states make this process easier with online tools for doing so, but you can also call your state department for more information.
Remember, unclaimed tax refund money will only remain available for three years, even if you did not file your return. After that initial three year period, you will not be eligible to claim the funds, no matter why they went unclaimed to begin with.
That’s why it is essential that you check whether or not you are owed any money and request old tax returns as soon as possible.
Like in many situations, prevention is always the best policy, and there are many ways you can prevent an unclaimed tax refund in the future. Here are a few helpful and easy steps you can take to prevent future unclaimed taxes:
- File a tax return every year, even if you do not think you will be owed a refund.
- Use a tax-filing service to make sure you’re not missing out on any credits or refunds you are entitled to.
- Always double-check all of your information before submitting your return, including your bank details (checking and routing numbers), contact information, and your address. If you do move before receiving your refund, inform the IRS and your state government immediately, or update this information online.
Track tax refund after you file. If you file electronically, you should be able to track your status after a couple of days.