If you did not file a tax return for 2016, you may be one of over 1 million taxpayers who may be due a refund from that year. The deadline for you to claim a refund, on a tax return in which one was owed to you, is 3 years from its due date (excluding extensions). For example, if you were due a refund on your 2016 Income Tax Return (which was due April 15th 2017), you would have until April 15th 2020 to claim it. If you don’t file a claim for a refund within three years, the money becomes property of the U.S. Treasury!
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the IRS has extended the time to claim refunds related to 2016 until July 15th 2020.
Note, there is no interest or penalty for failing to file a return in which a refund was owed. However, if you have a balance due, those items can be pretty stiff as outlined in this post.
Here are some of the facts you need to know about 2016 unclaimed refunds:
- The unclaimed refunds apply to those who didn’t file a federal income tax return for 2016.
- Some people, such as students, part-time workers or seasonal employees may not have filed because they thought they had too little income to require filing a tax return. However, if you did not have a filing requirement, you may still have a refund waiting if you had taxes withheld from your wages. A refund could also apply if a taxpayer qualified for certain tax credits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit.
- The law requires that you properly address, mail and postmark your tax return by July 15th 2016 to claim your refund. 2016 returns CAN NOT be e-filed as they are not one of the 3 active years currently supported by the IRS Modernized E-File (MEF) system.
- The IRS may hold your 2016 refund if you have not filed tax returns for 2017 and 2018. The U.S. Treasury will apply the refund to any federal or state tax you owe. It also may use your refund to offset unpaid child support or past due federal debts such as student loans.
- If you’re missing Forms W-2, 1098, 1099 or 5498 for 2016, you should ask for copies from your employer, bank or other payer. If you can’t get copies, get a free transcript showing that information by going to IRS.gov. You can also file Form 4506-T to get a transcript.
Need help filing that 2016 tax return? Give us a call or visit the main page of our site and shoot us an email via the address in the footer. We have the software to file tax returns going all the way back to 2002 so we’re sure we can help you out with 2016!