Procrastinating Taxpayers Have Two Weeks to Claim $1.5 Billion

The Internal Revenue Service has $1.5 billion in unclaimed refunds for people who never filed a tax return for 2016 -- and they have only two weeks to claim the money.

“The IRS wants to help taxpayers who are owed refunds but haven’t filed their 2016 tax returns yet,” IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said in a statement Wednesday. “Time is quickly running out for these taxpayers. There’s only a three-year window to claim these refunds, and the window closes on July 15.”

The IRS estimates there are 1.4 million taxpayers who are still owed a refund but have not filed a 2016 tax return. The average refund size is $861, the agency said.

Taxpayers who are eligible for the earned income tax credit could also get a much bigger amount. Many low- and middle-income earners could get a credit worth as much as $6,269, the IRS said.

There are no penalties for filing late if the taxpayer is owed a refund. If the taxpayer does not file by July 15, the money becomes the property of the Treasury Department.

July 15 is also the deadline for 2019 tax returns, after the IRS gave taxpayers an extra three months to file during the coronavirus pandemic. The agency said earlier this week it would not extend that deadline further.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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