Sometimes the numbers involved when it comes to taxes can be staggering. Like how about the fact that there could be over a billion dollars that the government in willing to pay out from three years ago? Now, don’t get too excited, for if you are reading this, I imagine chances are good that you are not in the group that stands to benefit from this – those we have not yet filed a 2014 federal income tax return.
Most of the time when we think about not filing a tax return, a heavy debt is imagined along with penalties and interest. And, of course, there is a segment of the population that tries to ignore filing taxes because they know they can’t pay the bill which will result. (We can discuss the lack of wisdom behind that decision at another time.) There are also groups, though, who don’t file a tax return even when it will result in then receiving a refund.
So sure, most of my readers won’t fit in that category, but you might know someone who does. Some of those people may not have even known they had to file taxes. Some of those people may not have thought they needed to file taxes. Many of those people were students or only working part-time when it happened.
Now to get back to that big number from the beginning, the IRS estimates there could be unclaimed refunds totaling $1.1 billion from 2014 returns.
This becomes crucial now for taxpayers are given a three-year window of opportunity to claim a refund. After that time, the money becomes the property of the U.S. Treasury. So on April 17, 2018, you should have your 2017 return filed (or get an extension, which I’m sure we will also be discussing in the future), but it also marks your last opportunity to submit one of those 2014 returns.
There could be work involved in submitting a past return, for if one did not file, they probably didn’t keep any W2 forms from time either. A phone call to a former employer may be all that is necessary to get one, however. And let’s say that that call takes 20 minutes even, it could be well worth it, for it is believed that the median return on these unfiled 2014 returns is $847.
Yes, these are now more reasonable numbers, but it adds up when there are thousands of estimated unfiled returns worth millions from every state in the country.
In conclusion, yes, taxes can be scary. Avoiding them, however, never leads to a better place. And yes, taxes take some time to properly handle. It’s time, however, that when spent correctly returns a pretty good financial return. So if you know anyone who may have avoided filing taxes over the last three years (for that three-year window is still open through 2015 and 2016, too), send them our way. We pride ourselves on helping taxes feel better for all our clients, and it always feels better when it results in them leaving with a little extra money coming their way.
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