Unclaimed IRS Tax Refunds

Tax return or extension?

Did you know that the average refund amount in 2018 was almost $3,000? It's expected to be a bit higher in 2019.

Is there a tax refund waiting for you? Are you aware that you have three years to file a tax return and claim your refund (and you won't face a late-filing penalty for doing this)?

Don't become a statistic! Read on for the latest data on unclaimed tax refunds due to wrong mailing addresses or incorrect bank account numbers. In addition, learn how to claim the refund you deserve!

See options to receive your tax refund.

Returned Tax Refund Checks and Bounced Bank Deposits

Each year there are billions of dollars of refund checks that are undelivered due to incorrect mailing addresses or wrong bank account numbers.

What if you moved or changed bank accounts since you filed your tax return and and the IRS does not have your new mailing address or new bank account number? Read on to learn how to update this information. 

How To Claim A Missing Tax Refund Payment

  1. If your refund check was returned to the IRS, you might be able to change your address online via the IRS website.
  2. Call 1-800-829-1040 to verify your mailing address or your bank account.
  3. If you can't update your mailing address online, download and mail Form 8822 to the address listed on the tax form.
  4. Next time, efile your taxes and sign up for direct deposit. It is more accurate, and you get your refund faster!

View the latest efile and direct deposit statistics.

Unclaimed IRS Tax Refunds

As of March 2019, unclaimed income tax refunds for tax year 2015 totaling almost $1.4 billion. An estimated 1.2 million taxpayers who did not file a 2015 Federal/IRS Tax Return or Form 1040 federal income tax return have until April 15, 2019 to claim their refund.

Maybe you thought your income was so low that you did not have to prepare and efile or file a tax return. Even if this was the case, did you know that you still might be eligible for a tax refund? For example, you might have had a job and taxes were withheld every month but you did not file a tax return because you had too little income. Yes, you might be able to claim this money in form of a tax refund. Or taxes were not withheld but you might be eligible for a refundable EIC (Earned Income Tax Credit).

Generally, you have three years from the original tax return deadline to file the return and claim your refund. After three years, the refund will go to the government (specifically the U.S. Treasury).

Please refer to the table below for deadlines to claim tax refunds (or pay taxes owed) for a specific Tax Year.

Tax Year
Tax Return Deadline
File Return and Claim Refund By
Claim Refund Instructs.
Taxes Owed Instructs.
2018
April 15, 2019
April 15, 2022
e-File January-October 15, 2019  Register for your 2018 tax return now
File your tax return as soon as possible to reduce late filing fees and penalties.
2017
April 18, 2018
April 18, 2021
e-File option no longer available.  Prepare, file your 2017 tax return on paper.
File your tax return as soon as possible to reduce late filing fees and penalties.
2016
April 18, 2017
April 18, 2020
e-File option no longer available.  Prepare, file your 2016 tax return on paper.
File your tax return as soon as possible to reduce late filing fees and penalties.
2015
April 16, 2016
Expired
You can no longer claim a 2015 Tax Refund.  Prepare, file your 2015 tax return on paper.
File your tax return as soon as possible to reduce late filing fees and penalties.
2014
April 15, 2015
Expired
You can no longer claim a 2014 tax refund.  Prepare, file your 2014 tax return on paper.
File your tax return as soon as possible to reduce late filing fees and penalties.
2013
April 15, 2014
Expired
You can no longer claim a 2013 tax refund.   Prepare, file your 2013 tax return on paper.
File your tax return as soon as possible to reduce late filing fees and penalties.
2012
April 15, 2013
Expired 
You can no longer claim a 2012 tax refund.  Prepare, file your 2012 tax return on paper.
File your tax return as soon as possible to reduce late filing fees and penalties.
2011
April 17, 2012
Expired 
You can no longer claim a 2011 tax refund.  Prepare, file your 2011 tax return on paper.
File your tax return as soon as possible to reduce late filing fees and penalties.
2010
April 18, 2011
Expired
You can no longer claim a 2010 tax refund.  Prepare, file your 2010 tax return on paper.
File your tax return as soon as possible to reduce late filing fees and penalties.
2009
April 15, 2010
Expired 
You can no longer claim a 2009 tax refund.  Prepare, file your 2009 tax return on paper.
File your tax return as soon as possible to reduce late filing fees and penalties.

Late Tax Return Filing Penalties

If you are eligible for a refund, there is generally no IRS late filing penalty for filing your return late!

  1. Use the FREE efile.com tax calculator and estimate your tax refund.
  2. Download and complete prior year tax return forms. Remember that you must use the tax form for the Tax Year for which you are filing a tax return. Unfortunately, you can only do this by mailing in a paper tax return, since the IRS does not accept previous year tax returns electronically.
  3. Call 1-800-829-1040 to verify your mailing address.

Find out if you need to file a tax return or qualify for a refund by using our free tax educator tools

Recommended Resources on Tax Refunds