Forgot to File Your 2019 Taxes? You Still Can if You Want Your Refund.

Published: April 30, 2023

Tax day for 2022 has handed. But one other deadline looms for individuals who could also be sitting on refunds as a result of they’ve but to file 2019 tax returns that had been due within the early days of the pandemic.

If they don’t file by the ultimate cutoff of July 17, the U.S. Treasury retains the cash.

Almost 1.5 million individuals have unclaimed federal refunds for tax yr 2019, when the standard refund quantity was practically $900, the Internal Revenue Service mentioned this month.

While a deadline in July could sound like loads of time, it might probably take some time to assemble paperwork from earlier tax years.

“We want taxpayers to claim these refunds,” Daniel Werfel, the I.R.S. commissioner, mentioned in a assertion, “but time is running out.”

Taxpayers usually have three years from tax day to file and declare their refunds. (There’s no penalty for failing to file when you’re getting a refund.)

Returns for tax yr 2019 had been due in 2020, early within the pandemic. Many individuals confronted “extremely unusual situations” and will have ignored their tax returns or forgotten that they had been owed refunds, Mr. Werfel mentioned.

The authentic tax submitting date in 2020 was delayed till July 15 that yr due to the pandemic, so the standard three-year window was prolonged once more to July 17, 2023.

Some of the unclaimed refunds could also be for individuals, like faculty college students or part-time staff, who didn’t earn sufficient to satisfy the submitting threshold. (The threshold in 2019 was $12,200 for single filers and $24,400 for {couples} submitting collectively, with larger thresholds for individuals 65 and older.)

“People should absolutely file for their tax refund and not leave the money on the table,” even when they aren’t required to file a return, mentioned Lisa Greene-Lewis, an authorized public accountant and spokeswoman for TurboTax.

Refunds might also be owed to many low- and moderate-income staff who had been eligible for the earned-income tax credit score. The credit score, price as a lot as $6,557 for 2019, is “refundable,” which suggests you’ll be able to nonetheless get a refund even when you don’t owe any tax.

The earned-income tax credit score relies on earnings and household dimension. In 2019, as an example, a person with earnings as much as $50,162 and three or extra kids was probably eligible for the credit score. An particular person with earnings as much as $15,570 and no kids might also be eligible.

Though you’ll be able to nonetheless file your 2019 return, you shouldn’t anticipate to get your refund swiftly. That’s as a result of 2019 returns should be filed on paper, which take longer for the I.R.S. to course of.

“Notably, paper-filed returns may take significant time for processing and issuing a refund,” mentioned Eric Bronnenkant, head of tax on the digital adviser Betterment.

Eric Smith, an I.R.S. spokesman, mentioned the company accepts electronically filed returns for the present season and two years prior. For this yr, meaning you’ll be able to electronically file returns for tax years 2022, 2021 and 2020.

Returns for 2019, nevertheless, “must be filed on paper, whether self-prepared or submitted with the assistance of a paid preparer,” he mentioned.

You can do your 2019 return utilizing business do-it-yourself tax software program, however you’ll should print it out and mail it to the I.R.S. (IRS Free File, this system that offers filers entry to free tax software program primarily based on their earnings, can be utilized just for current-year returns, Mr. Smith mentioned.)

But when you nonetheless haven’t filed return for tax yr 2020 or 2021, you’ll be able to have a tax skilled put together it and file it electronically. The I.R.S. gives a searchable listing of credentialed preparers.

Mr. Smith added that the I.R.S. was wanting “ for opportunities to expand e-file, including reviewing e-filing of prior year returns.”

Here are some questions and solutions about submitting your 2019 tax returns:

You ought to collect paperwork quickly, as a result of it would take time to acquire W-2 statements and different paperwork earlier than the July deadline. You can request copies of W-2s out of your employer and curiosity statements out of your financial institution. If you’ll be able to’t get the types that manner, the quickest choice is to order a free “wage and income” transcript on-line at, which reveals data reported to the I.R.S. You can even request a transcript in writing by submitting Form 4506-T. The request can take a number of weeks to course of, although, so the I.R.S. urges individuals to strive the opposite choices first.

Your 2019 refund test could also be held when you haven’t filed returns for 2020 and 2021, the I.R.S. mentioned. The refund may also be utilized to any quantities you continue to owe to the I.R.S. or to a state tax company. The refund cash can be used to offset unpaid youngster assist or past-due federal money owed, like scholar loans.

Current and prior yr tax types and directions can be found on-line at Forms and Publications, or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

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