WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., today said the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is holding more than $10 million in unclaimed refunds for 12,200 Mississippians who did not file a federal tax return in 2005. The senator urged those Mississippians to take immediate action to ensure they receive their unclaimed refund. Individuals have until April 15, 2009 to file their taxes in order to be eligible to collect their money.
“I strongly encourage every Mississippian to check their records and make sure that they received their 2005 federal tax refund,” said Sen. Wicker. “During these difficult economic times, taking action now could put needed money in the pockets of more than 12,000 Mississippians. The April 15th deadline is approaching, so those who did not file in 2005 should act. You can do so with no penalty from the IRS.”
The IRS estimates that the average Mississippian who is eligible for a refund would receive $533. Some individuals may not have filed because they had too little income to require filing a tax return even though they had taxes withheld from their wages or made quarterly estimated payments.
In cases where a return was not filed, the law provides most taxpayers with a three-year window of opportunity for claiming a refund. If no return is filed to claim the refund within three years, the money becomes property of the U.S. Treasury. For 2005 returns, the window closes on April 15, 2009. The law requires that the return be properly addressed, postmarked and mailed by that date. There is no penalty assessed by the IRS for filing a late return qualifying for a refund.
The IRS reminds taxpayers seeking a 2005 refund that their checks will be held if they have not filed tax returns for 2006 or 2007. In addition, the refund will be applied to any amounts still owed to the IRS and may be used to satisfy unpaid child support or past due federal debts such as student loans.
By failing to file a return, individuals stand to lose more than refunds of taxes withheld or paid during 2005. Many low-income workers may not have claimed the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Generally, unmarried individuals qualified for the EITC if in 2005 they earned less than $35,263 and had more than one qualifying child living with them, earned less than $31,030 with one qualifying child, or earned less than $11,750 and had no qualifying child. Limits are slightly higher for married individuals filing jointly.
Current and prior year tax forms and instructions are available on the Forms and Publications Web page of IRS.gov or by calling 1-800-829-3676. Information about the Earned Income Tax Credit and how to claim it is also available on www.irs.gov. Taxpayers who need help also can call the toll-free IRS help line at 1-800-829-1040.