The IRS has more than $917 million it wants to give away. Who’s eligible?
The Internal Revenue Service has more than $917 million in refunds it wants to give away to an estimated 984,400 taxpayers who did not file a federal income tax return for 2009. Taxpayers who fall into this category better act quickly. The window for refunds closes on April 15, 2013.
The refund is not likely to make anyone rich, but could certainly help with college expenses or a car payment or two. The IRS estimates that half the potential refunds are more than $500.
“Some people may not have filed because they had too little income to require filing a tax return even though they had taxes withheld from their wages or made quarterly estimated payments,” the IRS said in a statement released yesterday. Federal law allows taxpayers to file a return claiming a refund within three years. (No penalty is charges for filing a late return qualifying for a refund.) The 2009 refunds unclaimed by April 15, 2013 will become the property of the U.S. Treasury.
Low-income workers who forfeit their refund may also be foregoing an Earned Income Tax Credit worth up to $5,657, according to the IRS. The 2009 threshold for a married couple, filing jointly, with two children was $45,295. The top five states for potential 2009 refunds are California (100,700),Texas (86,000), Florida (62,700), New York (62,700) and Illinois (39,500).
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Taxpayers with comments and questions may want to consider volunteering to serve on the IRS Taxpayer Advocacy Panel, or TAP, a federal advisory committee that listens to taxpayers’ concerns and makes recommendations for improving the system.
“In trying to comply with an increasingly complex tax system, taxpayers may find they need different services than the IRS is currently providing,” said Nina E. Olson, National Taxpayer Advocate. TAP also plans to include for the first time at least one “international taxpayer” – U.S. citizens “working, living or doing business abroad or in a U.S. territory.”
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TAP members must be a U.S. citizen, current on tax payments, pass an FBI criminal background check had have 200 to 300 hours to spare each year. The next term will begin December 2013 and will run for three years. Applications are available online at www.improveirs.org and will be accepted through April 1, 2013.