Hertsel Shadian, Attorney at Law, LLC

Does the IRS Owe You Money?

5 August 2010

The Internal Revenue Service may have money for you. Each year, money owed to taxpayers (as much as several million dollars all told) goes unclaimed.  Some of that money is from relatively small refunds due to taxpayers or which arise from allowable credits that can be claimed by taxpayers.  Due to the often relatively small amount of many of these refunds, much of this money goes unclaimed.  Sometimes no return was filed because the taxpayer was below the minimum income filing threshold, but nevertheless still may have withheld taxes due back.  Other times people have filed returns but have moved before their refund check reached them and the post office did not or could not forward the check. 

Was your income below the limit that requires you to file a tax return? If so, you may still be due a refund.  If you have not filed a prior year tax return and are due a refund, you should consider filing the return to claim that refund. If you are missing a refund for a previously filed tax return, you should contact the IRS to check the status of your refund and confirm your current address.

Unclaimed Refunds

Some people may have had taxes withheld from their wages but were not required to file a tax return because they had too little income. Others may not have had any tax withheld but would be eligible for the refundable Earned Income Tax Credit.

  • To collect this money, a Federal income tax return (1040, 1040A, 1040-EZ) must be filed with the IRS generally no later than three years from the due date of the return (there are some very limited exceptions to this rule).
  • Generally, if no return is filed to claim the refund within three years, the money becomes the property of the U.S. Treasury.
  • There is no penalty assessed by the IRS for filing a late return which qualifies for a refund.
  • Current and prior year tax forms and instructions are available on the Forms and Publications page of IRS.gov or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676), or can be prepared by a qualified professional tax return preparer.
  • Information about the Earned Income Tax Credit and how to claim it can be obtained from your professional tax adviser or qualified tax return preparer; information also is available on the official IRS website at IRS.gov.

Undeliverable Refunds

Were you expecting a refund check but didn’t get it?

  • Refund checks are mailed to a taxpayer’s last known address. Checks are returned to the IRS if a taxpayer moves without notifying the IRS or the U.S. Postal Service of the taxpayer’s new address.
  • You may be able to update your address with the IRS on the “Where’s My Refund?” feature available on IRS.gov. You will be prompted to provide an updated address if there is an undeliverable check outstanding within the last 12 months.
  • You can also ensure the IRS has your correct address by filing IRS Form 8822, Change of Address (also available on IRS.gov or can be ordered by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676)).

If you have any questions about obtaining your refund, or need any other assistance with a tax matter, please call Hertsel Shadian, Attorney at Law, LLC in Portland at (503) 352-6985.