With four weeks until tax filing day (Monday, April 15), U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) today announced that there is over $3.1 million in unclaimed tax refunds waiting for 3,300 Rhode Islanders to claim it before April 15, or the money will be forfeited to the U.S. Treasury. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) estimates that the median potential unclaimed refunds for Rhode Islanders are about $612.
According to the IRS, nationwide refunds totaling approximately $917 million are waiting for over 984,000 Americans who did not file a federal income tax return for 2009. The IRS stated that some people may not file because they had too little income to require filing a tax return, even though they had taxes withheld from their wages or made quarterly payments. Other reasons individuals may not have filed stem from issues relating to unemployment or a mid-year change of income.
"The IRS has over $3.1 million in unclaimed refunds it owes Rhode Islanders, but people must be proactive in claiming it. A lot of folks are simply unaware the IRS owes them this money and I don't want eligible Rhode Islanders to miss out. The good news is there is still time for people who neglected to claim their refunds to do so, but you have to file by April 15," said Reed.
Tax filers may retroactively file or amend updated tax returns and receive refunds for up to three years in the past. There is no penalty for filing a late return qualifying for a refund. However, individuals looking to claim their 2009 refund must have filed returns for 2010 and 2011 to be eligible.
In order to obtain a refund, be sure to have the relevant tax documents, such as the W-2 and the 1040 form from the year the refund is being claimed.
Rhode Islanders who need assistance with their taxes may go to IRS.gov. The United Way of Rhode Island may also be able to help provide free tax preparation and filing services to qualified individuals. Simply call the United Way at: 2-1-1. Individuals may also call the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) line at: 1-800-906-9887 or visit the Rhode Island Society of Certified Public Accountants web site to find a CPA in your area.
Reed also noted that all Rhode Islanders can take advantage of e-filing and free tax preparation services available at IRS.gov. Everyone is eligible to use Free File fillable forms, which are online versions of the IRS's paper forms designed for people comfortable preparing their own tax returns. And Rhode Islanders making less than $57,000 may access free, brand name tax preparation software and file their taxes for free online. Participating taxpayers can have their tax refunds direct deposited in as little as 10 days.
Rhode Islanders who need additional time to file their federal taxes may receive a penalty-free 6 month extension if they file Form 4868 (the Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return) by this year's federal tax deadline, Monday, April 15.