IRS says Alabamians have millions in unclaimed tax returns

IRS says Alabamians have millions in unclaimed tax returns
The IRS estimates that Alabamians are owed upwards of $18 million. That’s approximately 17,700 individuals owed a median potential refund of $836.

(WAFF) - About 1 million taxpayers are eligible for about $1.1 billion in unclaimed federal income tax refunds for their 2014 federal income tax returns.

The problem? The refund cash has gone unclaimed because the taxpayers did not yet file a tax return for 2014.

The Internal Revenue Service figures are an estimate and reflect W-2 withholding information.

The IRS estimates that Alabamians are owed upwards of $18 million. That's approximately 17,700 individuals owed a median potential refund of $836.

The figures in Tennessee are similar, with approximately 20,300 individuals owed over $20 million, with a median refund of $837.

Additional money could be on the line for many low-income and moderate-income workers who could be eligible for generous tax credits, including the Earned Income Tax Credit.

For 2014, the Earned Income Tax Credit was worth as much as $6,143.

How much money a family receives for the credit depends on their income and size of the family.

The thresholds for 2014 for the credit were:

  • For those with three or more qualifying children, the income cut off for the Earned Income Tax Credit was $46,997 for singles and $52,427 if married filing jointly. 
  • For people with two qualifying children, the income cut off for the credit is $43,756 for singles or $49,186 if married filing jointly.
  • For people with one child, the cut off is $38,511 for singles or $43,941 if married filing jointly.
  • For working people without children, the income cut off for the credit is $14,590 for singles or $20,020 if married filing jointly. 

To get the refund money, taxpayers must file a 2014 federal income tax return by this year's tax deadline, April 17.

Most taxpayers have a three-year window for filing a return to claim a refund. After the three years, the money becomes the property of the U.S. Treasury.

"We're trying to connect a million people with their share of $1.1 billion in unclaimed refunds for 2014," said Acting IRS Commissioner David Kautter.

"Time is running out for people who haven't filed tax returns to claim their refunds. Students, part-time workers and many others may have overlooked filing for 2014. And there's no penalty for filing a late return if you're due a refund."

Taxpayers do not face a penalty for filing a late return — if they're owed a refund.

Not everyone who files from 2014 will see cash in hand. Taxpayers seeking a 2014 tax refund check may see those checks held back if they did not file tax returns for 2015 and 2016.

In addition, the 2014 refund would be applied to any amounts still owed to the IRS or state tax agency to offset unpaid child support or past due federal debts, such as student loans.

To be sure, you'd face penalties for filing late and paying late if you owed taxes and didn't file a return on time or seek an extension.

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