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Hurry: Deadline to Claim 2020 Tax Refunds Is May 17

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The last date for people to file for unclaimed refunds for 2020 is now just days away. More than a million people who haven’t yet filed their 2020 tax return may still be eligible for a refund. It is estimated that more than $1 billion in refunds remain unclaimed. The deadline to claim 2020 tax refunds is May 17.

What’s the deadline to claim 2020 tax refunds?

In a recent press release, the IRS noted that about 940,000 taxpayers have until May 17 to file their 2020 return to get the refund. Also, the agency noted that the average refund could be as much as $932.

Though there is no penalty for those who fail to file their return by the due date, the deadline is still important because there is a three-year refund expiration after each tax deadline. This means that taxpayers get three years to file and claim their refund.

Initially, the deadline to claim 2020 tax refunds was April 15, but it was moved to May 17, 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to the refund, taxpayers can also claim COVID-related tax credits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Recovery Rebate Credit.

“By missing out on filing a tax return, people stand to lose more than just their refund of taxes withheld or paid during 2020. The estimate does not include credits that non-filers may be eligible to receive,” the IRS says.

The 2020 EITC was about $6,660 for taxpayers with qualifying children. The Recovery Rebate Credit is a refundable credit for those who didn’t receive one or more stimulus checks approved during the COVID-19 pandemic.

How to claim your 2020 refund

If you haven’t filed your 2020 return but are confused where to start, the IRS has tools and instructions to help you out. The first thing you need to do is log into your free IRS online account to access wage and income transcripts, which includes your tax forms, including Forms W-2, 1098, 1099 and 5498.

You can also visit the IRS forms and instructions page for current and prior year tax forms and instructions. Alternatively, you can get missing tax forms online through your bank or other financial institutions.

The IRS also offers several other resources for taxpayers to help with the tax return, such as the Interactive Tax Assistant.

Before you file your 2020 taxes, there are a few important things that you need to keep in mind:

  • Your taxes must be up to date. The IRS may hold your refund if you haven’t filed your 2021 and 2022 taxes.
  • Your refund amount may be reduced if you have any outstanding tax bills, or any others due to other state agencies. The 2020 refund amount could first be used to pay any amount owed to the IRS or for unpaid child support or other past-due federal debts.