Millions of Americans are still waiting for their 2020 tax refunds as the understaffed Internal Revenue Service grapples with a mountain of yet-to-be-processed returns, constantly changing tax rules, and the arduous task of distributing the latest stimulus checks.
As it turns out, some of those same Americans may be owed money from three years ago—and if they want to collect it, they’d better hurry!
The IRS said on Monday that some 1.3 million taxpayers who didn’t file a tax return in 2017 are due a refund. Under U.S. law, taxpayers who fail to file a return get three years to claim their refunds. If they don’t, the money goes back to the U.S. Treasury.
For 2017, that three years is up.
According to the latest update from the IRS, people who are still owed a refund from 2017 must file a return by Monday, May 17, 2021. That means you have a little more than a month to file your return and claim your long-lost cash.
If you think you might fall into this category of people who are owed money from 2017, there are a few things to know. First, the IRS could still hold your money if you also haven’t filed a return in 2018 and 2019. (You’re not supposed to just randomly skip years.) Also, your refund money could be intercepted and applied to other past-due debts, such as money you owe the IRS, child support, student loans, or other federal debts.
All that said, it’s worth catching up on a little paperwork if there’s a big payoff in the end. In addition to refunds, the IRS says some low- and moderate-income taxpayers may also be eligible for the earned income tax credit, which was as high as $6,318 in 2017.
To learn more about eligibility, check out the IRS’s announcement here.