Did you know millions of tax refunds go unclaimed yearly in the U.S.? In fact, there were around 1.5 billion in IRS unclaimed taxes in the 2016 tax year, and that’s just federal taxes. Unfortunately, after a lengthy holding period, IRS unclaimed money stops being available to claim, and many Americans don’t even realize they haven’t received the refunds they are due.
Are you in the IRS unclaimed refund database? Learn how to find out if the IRS owes you money, how to prevent your tax refunds from going unclaimed, and how to request IRS unclaimed tax refunds in the slides below.
The amount of time it takes to receive your tax refund depends on how you file your taxes. The fastest way to get a tax refund is by filing electronically. Typically, electronic filers can expect to receive their refund within 21 days of filing. Paper filers can generally expect their refund within 42 days of filing their return.
After filing your taxes, you can track the status of a refund IRS online or by using the IRS2Go app. To track a tax refund for state taxes, you’ll need to use your state’s tax department’s website. Unfortunately, despite the ability to look up tax returns online, thousands of individuals do not receive the return they’re owed each year. So why does this happen? Here are the three most common reasons for an unclaimed tax refund:
- Your state government or the IRS has incorrect banking information for you on file
- Your state government or the IRS has an outdated or incorrect contact information or address for you on file
- You did not file a tax refund in a year where you would have been eligible for a tax refund
Generally, electronic filers will receive their refund as a direct deposit. However, if the state department or IRS doesn’t have the correct banking information of the filer, that money could be sent to an incorrect account or not be sent at all.
Similarly, if a tax filer was owed a refund, but provided an incorrect address, a refund check may not be forwarded to another address. As a result, the refund check may become lost in the mail or returned to the IRS or state government. When this happens, an unclaimed tax return is held until the filer submits a claim.
If you’ve filed a paper return, but change addresses before you receive a refund or you accidently supplied incorrect information, the IRS provides an address change form online that you can use to notify them of the change. You can and should notify your state tax agencies in a similar fashion.