The IRS is About to Pocket $1 Billion in Unclaimed Tax Refunds From 2013

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Didn’t file your taxes in 2013? Time is running out to do so — and potentially claim what’s yours from a $1 billion refund pot.

April 18, 2017, also known as the deadline to file your 2016 taxes for everyone else (thank you, Emancipation Day, for the extension), is also your deadline for filing 2013 returns if you want to receive your refund.

You might be surprised to learn this catch-up offer is an annual event. Three years is always the cap for filing old returns to get your refund, so if you didn’t file in, say, 2011, you’re out of luck.

“Remember, there’s no penalty for filing a late return if you’re due a refund,” IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said in a statement on March 1.

If you do owe on old returns, the maximum combined penalty for failing to file and failing to pay is typically 5% of what you owe per late month. Your total tab, however, can’t exceed 25% of what you owe.

How to File Your 2013 Taxes, You Slacker

The IRS says it takes about six weeks to process an “accurately completed” past-due return. You can find the appropriate 2013 forms on the handy IRS Forms and Publication site.

Can’t find your W-2s from 2013? The IRS has transcripts of your employer-reported earnings, which you can download online.

If the IRS owes you a refund from 2013, Uncle Sam may hold it until you file your 2014 and 2015 taxes. The IRS may hold any amount you owe on your federal or state taxes from those years.

OK, Maybe There Are More Slackers Than I Thought

The IRS estimates more than 1 million people may be due 2013 tax refunds. The number of incomplete 2013 tax returns vary widely by state, with an estimated 104,700 in Texas, about 54,700 in New York, and a wee 2,900 in North Dakota.

The median potential refund of $763 is based on taxes withheld but does not include tax credits that may have reduced what you owed.

Not sure if you need to file taxes this year? You probably do, but you can check this post anyway for details.

Imagine how productive you’d feel if you got caught up on several years’ taxes in one weekend? Take the challenge, beloved slackers.

And even if it’s too late for you to get a refund for old returns you didn’t file, you still need to do it. The IRS will find you eventually.

Your Turn: Have you, uh, neglected to file your tax return for previous years? Will you dig up your 2013 information so you can file before the deadline?

Lisa Rowan is a writer and producer at The Penny Hoarder.

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