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Time to Claim $1 Billion in Tax Refunds from 2020 Expires May 17

 The Internal Revenue Service today reminded the 1 million people who didn’t file their tax year 2020 returns they may be eligible for a refund if they file by the May 17 deadline.

The IRS estimates more than $1 billion in refunds remain unclaimed because people haven’t filed their 2020 tax returns yet. The state-by-state table below shows how many people are potentially eligible for these refunds, and the average median refund in each state.


There's no penalty for failure to file if a refund is due. However, a return claiming a refund must be filed within three years of its due date for a refund to be allowed. After the expiration of the three-year period, the refund statute generally prevents the issuance of a refund check and the application of any credits, including overpayments of estimated taxes or withholding amounts, to other tax years that are underpaid.


For 2020 tax returns, people have a little more time than usual to file their claim for refunds. Typically, the filing deadline to claim old refunds falls around the tax deadline of April 15. However, the 2020 filing deadline was pushed to May 17, due to COVID-19, making the three-year window deadline for 2020 unfiled returns May 17, 2024. The IRS issued Notice 2023-21 on Feb. 27, 2023, providing legal guidance on claims required by the postponed deadline.




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