Small Business Tips

Last Chance: $1 Billion In Unclaimed IRS Refunds

Stephen Fishman
Tax expert and contributor MileIQ

The IRS has recently announced that it has over $1 billion in unclaimed refunds for the 2013 tax year due to an estimated 1 million taxpayers who failed to file tax returns for that year. Here's how to see if you're owed an unclaimed IRS refund.  

Can I Get An Unclaimed IRS Refund?

To collect the money, taxpayers must file a 2013 tax return with the IRS no later than this year's income tax filing deadline, Tuesday, April 18. Taxpayers who fail to file by the deadline forfeit their refund and the money becomes the property of the U.S. Treasury.    

We're talking about a fair amount of money here. The IRS says that half of the refunds are for more than $763.    

You can download the 2013 tax forms and instructions from the IRS website. Taxpayers who are missing Forms W-2, 1098, 1099 or 5498 for the years 2013, 2014 or 2015 should request copies from their employer, bank or other payer.    

Taxpayers who are unable to get missing forms from their employer or other payer should go to and use the Get Transcript Online tool to obtain a Wage and Income transcript.

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What About This Year's Refund?

Hopefully, you've filed your tax return for 2016. If you're expecting a tax refund, you can check on your status with the Where's My Refund Tool.    

The IRS said it issues 90 percent of tax refunds within 21 days. If you want to receive your tax refund in the quickest manner, the IRS says to:  

  • E-file your tax returns
  • Choose direct deposit as your refund delivery option.

 Remember, you'll need the following to check your tax refund status:  

  • Your Social Security Number or your ITIN
  • The filing status
  • Exact refund amount.

You can check your tax refund status as early as 24 hours after you've filed your taxes. The government agency has also announced it expects delays for tax refunds with an Earned Income Tax Credit and Additional Child Tax Credits.

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