The $1,400 stimulus checks from the American Rescue Plan have been rolling out for the last several weeks. Beyond that, the expanded Child Tax Credit will result in payments for families for the rest of the year.
Many are still trying to track down their stimulus payments from the two coronavirus relief packages that passed in 2020. But in the meantime, the IRS announced earlier this month that it still has tax money left over from four years ago—and the deadline is coming soon.
The IRS said in a press release earlier this month that unclaimed tax refunds worth over $1 billion remain available for taxpayers who never filed a tax return in 2017. For those who didn’t do that, the deadline to file such a return is May 17. After that date, that tax refund money will become the property of the U.S. Treasury.
“The IRS wants to help taxpayers who are due refunds but haven’t filed their 2017 tax returns yet,” IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said in an announcement last week.
“Time is quickly running out for these taxpayers. There’s only a three-year window to claim these refunds, and the window closes on May 17. We want to help people get these refunds, but they will need to quickly file a 2017 tax return.”
Some elected officials have drawn attention to the 2017 IRS money, with Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania tweeting April 5 that the 51,000 Pennsylvanians awaiting payments of $52 million should take steps to get their money, and warning of the May 17 deadline.
“The IRS reminds taxpayers seeking a 2017 tax refund that their checks may be held if they have not filed tax returns for 2018 and 2019,” the IRS added. “In addition, the refund will be applied to any amounts still owed to the IRS or a state tax agency and may be used to offset unpaid child support or past due federal debts, such as student loans.”
In addition to the refunds, the IRS wants to make sure that those who are eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit from that year will receive the money that they’re supposed to receive.
Tax forms from past years are available on the website of the IRS here.
The IRS site also includes a chart of which states have the most people with outstanding tax refund balances available. Texas has the most, with 133,000 individuals owed a total of $138,355,200, with California second, with 132,800 owed $129,793,500. No other state listed over 100,000 people or had over $100 million as the total balance.
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.