Economy
8:00 am
Mon March 5, 2012

The IRS Gives Back

The Internal Revenue Service says refunds totaling more than $1 billion are sitting unclaimed by individuals who did not file a federal income tax return for 2008. But to collect the money, there is a catch: they must file a 2008 income tax return no later than April 17, 2012.

In Pennsylvania there are 38,700 people who haven't filed, according to IRS spokeswoman Jennifer Jenkins. She said state residents are entitled to more than $35.5 million in unclaimed returns, with a median of $695 per person.

Jenkins said these unclaimed refunds represent relatively easy money.

"If we're looking at a potential refund of about $600-plus dollars for an individual, that few hours' time to prepare and file that dated return- that's significant," Jenkins said. According to Jenkins, some people may not have filed their 2008 returns because they had too little income to require filling out a tax return even though they had taxes withheld from their paychecks.

Low-income workers are the primary population for taxpayers who may be eligible for an unclaimed refund, provided they file a return. There's a three-year time frame to claim these refunds and that window is about to close.

Some of the bigger-value federal tax credits for Tax Year 2008 are:

  • Adoption Credit up to $11,650
  • Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) up to $4,824
  • Child Tax Credit up to $1,000 per eligible child
  • Hope education credit up to $1,800
  • Lifetime learning credit up to $2,000
  • Energy-Saving Tax Credits up to $500 and a 30 percent credit for the cost of photovoltaic property, solar water heating property and fuel cell property
  • Child and Dependent Care Expenses for 35% of up to $3,000 for one qualifying person

Taxpayers who are missing forms for Tax Year 2008 should request copies from their employer, bank or other payer. Or taxpayers can get a free transcript by contacting the IRS information from these year-end documents by ordering on-line at www.irs.gov, calling 1-800-908-9946 or by filing Form 4506-T, Request for Transcript of Tax Return, with the IRS.

Any returns still left unclaimed after April 17 become the property of the U.S. Treasury.