You just have 8 days to claim this IRS tax refund money before it disappears forever


Does the IRS have a income tax refund of yours yo need to claim by May 17?

Sarah Tew/CNET

Is the IRS holding an income tax refund you haven’t claimed yet? The IRS estimates 1.3 million taxpayers have $1.3 billion worth of unclaimed 2017 tax refunds it is waiting to deliver. If you didn’t file a federal income tax return for 2017, time is running out: You have a little over a week to file for your refund. After May 17 — Tax Day this year — those unclaimed 2017 tax refunds will become the property of the US Department of Treasury.

With Tax Day moved to May 17 this year, the IRS is still busy processing tax returns along with sending weekly batches of stimulus checks and “plus-up” payments along with getting ready to send as soon as July the first of the expanded child tax credit payments.

We’ll show you how to see if the IRS has an income tax refund you need to claim. For more, here’s how to get back $16,000 in child care expenses, how to save $50 on your internet bill, see if your state has unclaimed money it owes you and what you want to know about child tax credit payments. This story is frequently updated.

When is the deadline to claim an older income tax refund?

The IRS is required to hold on to unclaimed tax refunds for three years. By law, if you do not file for a refund after three years, the money becomes the property of the US Treasury, and you will not be able to get it. For a 2017 income tax refund, you need to claim by Tax Day (May 17) before it’s gone.

How do I find out if the IRS has an unclaimed tax refund for me?

The only way to know if the IRS is holding your refund is to file a return for the year, the IRS said. The agency regularly estimates the dollar amount of unreported tax returns but can’t determine if an individual taxpayer is due a refund until they file a tax return. The Where’s My Refund tool can’t help either. It reports the refund status of those who have already filed their taxes.

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How do I claim my tax refund?

To claim a refund for 2017, you need to submit your 2017 tax form, either online or through the mail. If you are mailing it, the tax return needs to be postmarked by May 17. Note that you may need to file a 2018 and 2019 tax return too for the IRS to release your 2017 refund.

What if I’m missing documents for my 2017 taxes?

You can find a prior year’s tax forms on the IRS’ forms page. If you are missing a W-2, 1098, 1099 or 5498 from 2017, the IRS recommends you request a copy from your employer or bank. You can also order a free wage and income transcript from the IRS and then use the information on the transcript to file your tax return.


The IRS is busy, processing tax returns and sending stimulus checks and plus-up payments.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Can my unclaimed refund be used to cover debt?

If you think you were due a refund from 2017 but you don’t receive one after your file, all or part of your refund may have been offset, or used to pay off past-due federal tax, state income tax, state unemployment compensation debts, child support, spousal support or other federal debts such as student loans.

For more information about your 2020 taxes, here’s how to claim missing stimulus money on your taxes and how to track your tax fund this year.