Sunday, May 26, 2024

Breaking News: $1 Billion in Unclaimed Tax Refunds Await You – Act Fast

HomeU.S.Breaking News: $1 Billion in Unclaimed Tax Refunds Await You - Act...

As the mad scramble of Tax Day 2024 winds down, there’s a potential billion dollar prize awaiting an unlikely group of Americans – those who didn’t even file a return in recent years.

In a surprising announcement, the Internal Revenue Service revealed that $1 billion in federal income tax refunds remains unclaimed and gathering dust from tax year 2020 alone. That staggering sum is owed to nearly 1 million “non-filers” who appear to have turned a blind eye to Tax Day.

“It’s almost unbelievable – $1 billion just sitting there for the taking by taxpayers who haven’t filed in years,” exclaimed Kemberley Washington, a tax expert at Forbes Advisor and former criminal investigator for the IRS. “But there’s a critical catch – you only have until May 17th this year to claim your 2020 refund before it becomes permanent property of the U.S. government.”

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May 17th falls exactly three years after the extended 2020 tax filing deadline, the legally mandated window for claiming an unclaimed refund from that year. After that date, $1 billion in refunds from 2020 will be swept into federal coffers, likely never to be seen again by rightful recipients.

“It’s a daunting prospect – nearly a million taxpayers are just weeks away from simply abandoning over $1 billion of their own money to the IRS,” said Washington. “These refunds can be life-changing sums for families, but they’ll vanish in a bureaucratic black hole if taxpayers don’t take action.”

And the ticking $1 billion time bomb is likely just the beginning. The IRS estimates there are also potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in unclaimed refunds from 2021 and 2022 that taxpayers have until 2025 and 2026 respectively to recover.

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One factor pumping up many of those unclaimed 2020 and 2021 refund values? The pandemic’s economic impact payments better known as stimulus checks. Washington notes that taxpayers who qualified for those payments but never received some or all of the funds can claim the Recovery Rebate Credit on their return to get that stimulus money after the fact.

“For people struggling financially during COVID, leaving money like the stimulus payments or Child Tax Credit unclaimed is just salt in the wound,” said Washington. “But by filing a return, they can recover those valuable credits too.”

So who are these reluctant millionaires sitting on over $1 billion in government refunds? While the IRS didn’t provide details, tax professionals say the group likely includes lower-income individuals like retirees who have little or no earned income to report.

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In many cases, these non-filers may have simply been unaware they were due a refund, or lacked the resources or knowledge to navigate the tax filing process. Now they face a ticking clock to collect that windfall.

“For this group in particular, it’s really a case of ‘you don’t know what you’re missing’ when it comes to unclaimed refunds,” said Washington. “The IRS can only release that money if you take the first step and file – otherwise it’s just disappearing into a fiscal twilight zone.”

With the final buzzer about to sound on refunds from 2020, taxpayers have a limited window to beat the clock on what could be a billion-dollar payday. For those dragging their feet, the message is clear – file now, or that refund cash is lost forever.

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Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee is a prolific author who provides commentary and analysis on business, finance, politics, sports, and current events on his website Opportuneist. With over a decade of experience in journalism and blogging, Mezhar aims to deliver well-researched insights and thought-provoking perspectives on important local and global issues in society.

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