Site Menu

Unclaimed Refunds: Still Waiting for a Refund Check from the IRS?

Did you know that the average refund amount in 2018 is almost $3,000? 

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 do I claim my missing refund check?

  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.

Missed Opportunity - Unclaimed IRS Tax Refunds

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).

How Long Do I Have to Claim My Refund?

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 Claim Refund/File Return By Instructions for
Claiming Refund

Instructions for
Taxes Owed

2017 April 18, 2018 April 18, 2021

Efile January-October 15, 2018.

Register for your 2017 tax return now




File your tax return as soon as possible to reduce late filing fees and penalties.






2016  April 18, 2017 April 18, 2020

Efile no longer available.

Prepare, file your 2016 tax return on paper.

2015 April 18, 2016 April 18, 2019

Efile no longer available.

Prepare, file your 2015 tax return on paper.

2014 April 15, 2015 April 15, 2018

You can no longer claim a 2014 tax refund.

Prepare, file your 2014 tax return on paper.

2013 April 15, 2014 April 15, 2017

You can no longer claim a 2013 tax refund.

Prepare, file your 2013 tax return on paper.

2012 April 15, 2013 Expired

You can no longer claim a 2012 tax refund.

Prepare, file your 2012 tax return on paper.

2011 April 17, 2012 Expired

You can no longer claim a 2011 tax refund.

Prepare, file your 2011 tax return on paper.

2010 April 18, 2011 Expired

You can no longer claim a 2010 tax refund.

Prepare, file your 2010 tax return on paper.

2009 April 15, 2010 Expired

You can no longer claim a 2009 tax refund.

Prepare, file your 2009 tax return on paper.

Will I Face a Late Tax Return Filing Penalty When I Claim My Refund?

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

How Do I Claim a Tax Refund for a Previous Tax Year?

  1. Use the FREE 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.

Do I Even Need to File a Tax Return? How Do I Find Out If I Expect a Refund?

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