Everyone finds taxes stressful, especially the people who do not have the resources to manage the tax filing process well. As a matter of fact, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) estimates that 12 million Americans do not file an annual tax return. There are a wide range of reasons that people decide not to file. But, one of the main reasons is because they do not need to. That is because people that earn less than the standard deduction do not need to file their taxes. But, when they do not file for taxes, people could miss out on money that they rightfully own.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced that there are approximately $1.5 billion in tax refunds that are currently waiting to be claimed from 2018. That means people that did not file a tax refund for their 2018 taxes are required to file their taxes to qualify to claim this money. Unfortunately, the three year timeframe expired for taxpayers on April 18th (or April 19th for others). But, individuals that managed to file an extension have until October 17th to file their taxes! That means for some people, there is still time to get a tax refund.
Where Does the $1.5 Billion Come From?
According to the IRS, approximately 1.5 million American taxpayers did not file a tax return for 2018. The IRS offers a three year timeframe for individuals to stay updated on their taxes. That means that 2021 was the final year that individuals could file their taxes and get tax refunds that they rightfully own. The official tax day for 2021 taxes was on April 18th, 2022. It was April 19th, 2022 for certain states, like Maine or Massachusetts since these states celebrate Patriots’ Day.
But, that window has passed. Fortunately, even though the timeframe expired, taxpayers still could claim their share. But, this applies only if they had filed for a tax extension. Taxpayers that filed for an extension have until October 17th, 2022. However, once that timeframe expires, then it is too late to claim a tax refund and the money will be the property of the government.
Who Does Not Need to File Their Taxes?
People that earn less than the standard deduction do not need to worry about filing their taxes. For 2018, the standard deduction was:
- $12,000 for Individual Filers
- $18,000 for Heads of Families
- $24,000 for Married, Couple Filers
But, people that earned less than that who do not need to file taxes could still be due a tax refund!
How Much Can You Receive on Your Tax Return?
The exact amount you will get on your 2018 tax return differs from your current situation. The Federal Government would be the responsible agency to measure that amount. But, if you are a part of the taxpayers that have unclaimed tax refund payments from 2018, then the IRS gathered some stats. The median amount of the unclaimed tax refund payment is $813. This means there is a 50% chance that you will either receive more than $813 or less than $813.
Conclusion: Getting a Tax Refund
If you still manage to have time left because you filed a tax extension on your 2018 taxes, then it is important that you move as fast as you can. You will need to file your taxes as soon as possible. This means that you can file your taxes by yourself or with the assistance of a tax professional expert. The IRS provides free tax return preparation support for eligible taxpayers. Two opportunities they provide for taxpayers are the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program and the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program.