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Susan Tompor: Big money awaits many who forgot to file 2017 tax returns

Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Business News

Ohio's numbers have slightly more people who have unclaimed money. Ohio's total is nearly $47.9 million for 48,700 people with a midpoint of $852.

Some people are exempt from being required to file a federal income tax return but if they don’t file, some might lose important tax credits or refund money from federal taxes that could have been previously withheld from a paycheck.

Rules vary based on age and income.

If you’re under 65, for example, you probably don't have to file a tax return if your 2020 gross income was $12,400 or less as a single filer in 2020.The rules are different if someone can claim you as a dependent.

If you're under age 65 and someone can claim you as a dependent, you probably wouldn't have to file if your earned income was $12,200 or less or your unearned income was $1,100 or less. Other rules relating to your gross income can apply.

Not everyone who files a 2017 tax return, of course, will see refund money go directly into their wallets.

Federal tax refunds owed for 2017 may be held if the couple or individual has not filed tax returns for 2018 and 2019.

If you owe money for taxes or some other debts, you might not see the refund cash, either.

 

Federal income tax refund money will be applied to what you owe the IRS or a state tax agency. The refund also may be used to offset unpaid child support or past due federal debts, such as student loans.

Families facing financial difficulties also may want to consider filing 2017 returns as well.

"By failing to file a tax return, people stand to lose more than just their refund of taxes withheld or paid during 2017," the IRS stated.

Many low- and moderate-income workers may be eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit.

For 2017, the maximum credit was $6,318. The EITC helps individuals and families whose incomes are below certain thresholds. The income thresholds for 2017 were:

$48,340 ($53,930 if married filing jointly) for those with three or more qualifying children; $45,007 ($50,597 if married filing jointly) for people with two qualifying children; $39,617 ($45,207 if married filing jointly) for those with one qualifying child, and; $15,010 ($20,600 if married filing jointly) for people without qualifying children.

IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said in a statement: “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.”

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