Washington (Feb. 10, 2004) -- Unclaimed refunds totaling more than $2.5 billion are awaiting nearly two million people who failed to file a 2000 income tax return, according to the Internal Revenue Service.

The IRS estimates that half of those who could claim refunds would receive more than $529. In order to collect the money, taxpayers must file a return with the IRS no later than April 15, 2004. In some cases, the IRS said individuals had taxes withheld from their wages, or made payments against their taxes out of self-employed earnings, but had too little income to require filing a tax return. Some taxpayers may also be eligible for the refundable Earned Income Tax Credit.

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