Many taxpayers are owed money by the IRS and might not even know about it.
If you have not filed a prior year tax return and are due a refund, you should consider filing the return to claim that refund. If you are missing a refund for a previously filed tax return, you should contact the IRS to check the status of your refund and confirm your current address. If you earned income in the last few years but you didn’t file a tax return because your wages were below the filing requirement, the Internal Revenue Service may have some money for you. The IRS also has millions of dollars in checks that are returned each year as undeliverable.
If the government owes you money and you do not collect it, then it’s unclaimed. This can also happen with banks, credit unions, pensions, and other sources.
Beware of unclaimed money scams. There are people who pretend to be the government and offer to send you unclaimed money for a fee. Government agencies will not call you about unclaimed money or assets. Learn how to spot these types of scams.
Unclaimed Refunds by Taxpayers
Some people may have had taxes withheld from their wages but were not required to file a tax return because they had too little income. Others may not have had any tax withheld but would be eligible for the refundable Earned Income Tax Credit. This is true whether your work withholds money from your paycheck automatically or not. The amount of money you can receive depends upon your income and the number of qualifying children you have. If your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) is under the Income Level in the chart below, then you can qualify for the maximum credit.
- To collect this money a return must be filed with the IRS no later than three years from the due date of the return.
- If no return is filed to claim the refund within three years, the money becomes the property of the U.S. Treasury.
- There is no penalty assessed by the IRS for filing a late return qualifying for a refund.
- Current and prior year tax forms and instructions are available on the Forms and Publications web page of IRS.gov or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).
- Information about the Earned Income Tax Credit and how to claim it is also available on IRS.gov.
Undeliverable Tax Refunds by Taxpayers
Were you expecting a refund check but didn’t get it?
- Refund checks are mailed to your last known address. Checks are returned to the IRS if you move without notifying the IRS or the U.S. Postal Service.
- You may be able to update your address with the IRS on the Where’s My Refund? feature available here. You will be prompted to provide an updated address if there is an undeliverable check outstanding within the last 12 months.
- You can also ensure the IRS has your correct address by filing Form 8822, Change of Address, which is available below or can be ordered by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).
- If you do not have access to the Internet and think you may be missing a refund, you should first check your records or contact your tax preparer. If your refund information appears correct, call the IRS toll-free assistance line at 800-829-1040 to check the status of your refund and confirm your address.
Does the IRS Owe You Money?
Additional IRS Links on Unclaimed Money:
Form 8822, Change of Address