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Do you have unclaimed tax money sitting around? It expires soon

The deadline for filing federal tax returns for the 2021 tax year is fast approaching. You have until Monday, April 18 but that doesn’t mean you should wait until the last minute.

Cryptocurrency has created a new situation for taxpayers. If you have received, sold or exchanged any virtual currency in 2021, you must report it to the IRS or risk prosecution.

April 18 is not only the deadline to file your taxes, but it’s also the last day you can claim old tax refunds from 2018. It’s time to get on that.

There may be hundreds of dollars waiting for you

The IRS says there are $1.5 billion in unclaimed funds. This applies to people who did not file a 2018 Form 1040 federal income tax return.

If you do not file federal income tax for any year, you have a three-year window to claim a tax refund. Once three years have passed, the money becomes the property of the U.S. Treasury. For 2018 tax returns, the window closes on April 18, 2022 for most people. Taxpayers in Maine and Massachusetts have until April 19.

The IRS notes that taxpayers seeking a 2018 tax refund may not receive payment if they didn’t file returns for 2019 and 2020. Your refund may also be applied to your debts, including money owed to the IRS or your state, unemployment compensation, child support, student loans and more.

The IRS estimates that the median amount for the unclaimed refunds is $813, with a range of $715 to $969 depending on your state.

How to claim your 2018 refund

While you can e-file your tax forms from 2019 and later, you need to file your 2018 returns by mail to the proper IRS center on the last page of Form 1040 for tax year 2021. Go to the Forms and Publications page for forms and instructions or call toll-free 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676). 

If you’re missing a Forms W-2, 1098, 1099 or 5498 form, ask for one from your bank or employer.

The IRS notes that failing to file your tax return not only puts you at risk of losing your refund, but you can also miss out on Earned Income Tax Credit, which is reserved for households with incomes below certain thresholds. The thresholds range from $15,270 for people with no children to $54,884 for married couples filing jointly with three or more children. The EITC for the 2018 tax year amounted to as much as $6,431.

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