Taxpayers usually have three years to file and claim their tax refunds. The three-year deadline for filing 2019 returns to claim a refund was in 2022, but the IRS postponed the deadline to July 17, 2023, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This means taxpayers still have time to claim valuable family tax credits.
The IRS estimates almost $1.5 billion in refunds remain unclaimed because people haven’t filed their 2019 tax returns yet. The average median refund is $893 for this year, and the IRS has done a special state-by-state calculation to show how many people are potentially eligible for these refunds.
“The 2019 tax returns came due during the pandemic, and many people may have overlooked or forgotten about these refunds,” said IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel. “We want taxpayers to claim these refunds, but time is running out. People face a July 17 deadline to file their returns. We recommend taxpayers start soon to make sure they don’t miss out.”
Under the law, taxpayers usually have three years to file and claim their tax refunds. If they don’t file within three years, the money becomes the property of the U.S. Treasury.
But for 2019 tax returns, people have more time than usual to file to claim their refunds. Usually, the normal filing deadline to claim old refunds falls around the April tax deadline, which is April 18 this year for 2022 tax returns. But the three-year window for 2019 unfiled returns was postponed to July 17, 2023, due to the COVID-19 pandemic emergency. The IRS issued Notice 2023-21 on Feb. 27, 2023, providing legal guidance on claims made by the postponed deadline.