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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 Home and Consumer News

About 1.3 million taxpayers across the country might want to think about filing their 2017 federal income tax returns by May 17.

The Internal Revenue Service said tax refunds that total $1.3 billion are owed to people who have not filed a 2017 federal income tax return.

Yes, we're talking about unfiled tax returns from a few years ago that could trigger a decent tax refund. Yes, unfortunately you might not get to spend all that money since it might go directly to cover past due taxes, too.

The IRS estimates the midpoint for the potential refunds for 2017 to be $865 — that is, half of the refunds are more than $865 and half are less.

The IRS figures are an estimate and reflect W-2 withholding information. Maybe you forgot that you had taxes withheld from a part-time job. Or you thought you didn’t make enough money to be required to file a federal income tax return.

Some of the unclaimed refund money could belong to students, part-time workers and others who may have overlooked filing a return.


Even more money could be on the line for many low-income and moderate-income workers who could be eligible for generous tax credits, including the Earned Income Tax Credit. But you have to file a return to claim a credit.

You'd have to file that 2017 federal income tax return by May 17 to claim a refund or lose out on the cash.

Under the law, most taxpayers get a three-year window to claim a tax refund if a federal income tax refund was not filed earlier.

Michigan's total for unclaimed federal income tax refunds for 2017 is nearly $43.2 million for 43,100 people who have yet to file a 2017 return. The midpoint for potential refunds is $863.


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