The IRS is About to Pocket $1 Billion in Unclaimed Tax Refunds From 2014

The Internal Revenue Building in Washington, D.C.
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Didn’t file your taxes in 2014? Time is running out to do so — and potentially claim what’s yours from a $1.1 billion refund pot.

April 17, 2018, also known as the deadline to file your 2017 taxes for everyone else (thank you, Emancipation Day, for the extension), is also your deadline for filing 2014 returns if you want to receive your unclaimed 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,” said acting IRS Commissioner David Kautter in a March 8 statement.

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 2014 Taxes, You Slacker

The IRS says it takes about six weeks to process an “accurately completed” past-due return. You can find the appropriate 2014 forms on the handy IRS Forms and Publication site.

Can’t find your W-2s from 2014? The IRS has transcripts of your employer-reported earnings, which you can download online.

If the IRS owes you a refund from 2014, Uncle Sam may hold it until you file your 2015 and 2016 taxes. The IRS may deduct any amount you owe on your federal or state taxes for those years from your 2014 refund.

OK, Maybe There Are More Slackers Than I Thought

The IRS estimates about 1 million people may be due 2014 unclaimed tax refunds. The number of incomplete 2014 tax returns varies widely by state, with an estimated 108,100 in Texas, about 53,600 in New York, and a wee 3,000 in North Dakota.

The median potential refund of $847 is based on taxes withheld, but that doesn’t include tax credits that may have reduced what you owed.

Still haven’t filed for 2017? Here’s everything you need to know about how to file your tax return.

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.

Lisa Rowan is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.