The Internal Revenue Service said it has unclaimed refunds totaling more than $1.3 billion awaiting nearly 1.4 million people who did not file a federal income tax return for 2006, including over $150 million in the state of California alone.

To collect the unclaimed money, taxpayers must file a return for 2006 with the IRS no later than Thursday, April 15, 2010. The IRS estimates that the median unclaimed refund for tax-year 2006 is $604.

In cases where a return was not filed, the law provides most taxpayers with a three-year window of opportunity for claiming a refund. If no return is filed to claim the refund within three years, the money becomes the property of the U.S. Treasury.

By failing to file a return, people stand to lose more than refunds of taxes withheld or paid during 2006. For example, most telephone customers, including most cell phone users, qualify for the one-time telephone excise tax refund. Available only on the 2006 return, this special payment applies to long-distance excise taxes paid on phone service billed from March 2003 through July 2006. The government offers a standard refund amount of $30 to $60, or taxpayers can base their refund request on the actual amount of tax paid. For details, see the Telephone Excise Tax Refund page on IRS.gov.

In addition, many low-and-moderate income workers may not have claimed the Earned Income Tax Credit. The EITC helps individuals and families whose incomes are below certain thresholds, which in 2006 were $38,348 for those with two or more children, $34,001 for people with one child and $14,120 for those with no children. For more information, visit the EITC Home Page.

Register or login for access to this item and much more

All Accounting Today content is archived after seven days.

Community members receive:
  • All recent and archived articles
  • Conference offers and updates
  • A full menu of enewsletter options
  • Web seminars, white papers, ebooks

Don't have an account? Register for Free Unlimited Access