You have 10 days to claim this IRS tax refund money before it disappears forever - CNET

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Does the IRS have a income tax refund of yours yo need to claim?

Sarah Tew/CNET

Does the IRS have an income tax refund you never claimed? If the refund is from your 2017 taxes, you have less than two weeks to file for it. After May 17, the unclaimed 2017 refunds will become the property of the US Treasury. The IRS estimates it $1.3 billion in unclaimed 2017 tax refunds for about 1.3 million taxpayers. That works out to $865 on average.

The IRS is in the middle of tax season, processing tax returns for this year, sending weekly batches of stimulus checks and plus-up payments and preparing to send the first of the expanded child tax credit payments in July.

We'll show you how to see if the IRS has an unclaimed tax refund for you. For more, here's how to get back $16,000 in child-care expenses, how to save $50 on your internet bill, see if your state has unclaimed money it owes you and what you want to know about child tax credit payments.

When do I have to claim an older tax refund with the IRS?

The IRS is required to hold on to unclaimed income tax refunds for three years. After three years, by law, the money then becomes the property of the US Treasury, and you will not be able to get it. For a 2017 income tax refund, you need to claim by Tax Day, May 17, before it's gone.

How do I find out if the IRS has an unclaimed income refund for me?

The only way to know if the IRS is holding a refund is to file a return for the year, the IRS said. The agency regularly estimates the dollar amount of unreported tax returns but can't determine if an individual taxpayer is due a refund until they file a tax return. The Where's My Refund tool can't help either. It also reports a refund status for those who have already filed their taxes.

Now playing: Watch this: Child tax credit: How much are you getting?


How do I claim my tax refund?

To claim a refund for 2017, you need to submit your 2017 tax form, either online or through the mail. If you are mailing it, the tax return needs to be postmarked by May 17. Note that you may need to file a 2018 and 2019 tax return for the IRS to release your 2017 refund.

What if I am missing tax documents for 2017?

You can find a prior year's tax forms on the IRS' forms page page. If you are missing a  W-2, 1098, 1099 or 5498 from 2017, the IRS recommends you request a copy from your employer or bank. You can also order a free wage and income transcript from the IRS and then use the information on the transcript to file your tax return.


The IRS is busy, sending tax refunds, stimulus checks for up to $,1400, and plus-up payments.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Can my unclaimed refund be used to cover debt?

If you think you were due a refund from 2017 but you don't receive one after your file, all or part of your refund may have been offset, or used to pay off past-due federal tax, state income tax, state unemployment compensation debts, child support, spousal support or other federal debts such as student loans.

For more information about your 2020 taxes, here's how to claim missing stimulus money on your taxes and how to track your tax fund this year.

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