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Tax Guide
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Last call for 2020 tax refunds: IRS deadline is May 17

Last call for 2020 tax refunds: IRS deadline is May 17

The IRS has issued a final call to about one million Americans who haven't filed their 2020 tax returns, reminding them of the opportunity to claim part of the over $1 billion in unclaimed tax refunds.

This opportunity ends on May 17, after which unclaimed refunds will be forfeited to the US Treasury.

Who is affected?

The alert specifically targets individuals who did not file a tax return for the year 2020.

These individuals may not only miss out on refunds for taxes withheld but also risk losing the chance to claim valuable tax credits, which are often more beneficial than the refunds themselves.

State-specific impact

The potential refunds vary significantly by state, with the IRS providing a detailed breakdown of how many people in each state have not claimed their refunds and the average potential refund amount.

The total unclaimed refunds amount to approximately $1 billion nationally.

Why file?

There is no penalty for filing late if a refund is due. However, tax returns claiming a refund must be filed within three years of the original deadline; otherwise, the right to the refund expires.

For 2020 tax returns, this means the deadline is extended to May 17, 2024, due to the COVID-19 pandemic adjustments.

Available tax credits

Many non-filers could benefit from credits such as:

  • The Recovery Rebate Credit, provided as part of the COVID-19 relief measures.
  • The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), worth up to $6,660 in 2020.

How to file and get help

Individuals needing to file can access various resources:

  • Request necessary documents like W-2 or 1099 forms from employers or payers.
  • Use the IRS’s Get Transcript Online service to obtain wage and income transcripts.
  • Pro tax help from certified CPAs and EAs, ensuring accurate filing and maximization of your refunds.

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The IRS stresses the importance of filing electronically for quicker processing and earlier refunds. Direct deposit is recommended for the fastest refund delivery.

Ines Zemelman, EA
Founder of TFX