The IRS owes $1.5 billion in unclaimed tax refunds. You must claim the money before tax day

The IRS holds money from unclaimed tax refunds for three years before releasing it to the Treasury.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Does the IRS owe you money that you need to claim? Tax deadlineApril 18 – is only a day away. You have until Monday to file your 2021 tax return or file a tax extension, but this date also marks another important deadline. This is your last chance to claim any tax refunds you may have from 2018.

The IRS said it has $1.5 billion in unclaimed tax refunds for more than 1.5 million Americans who did not file their tax returns in 2018, with a median unclaimed refund amount of $813. By law, the IRS keeps these unclaimed tax refunds for three years. After April 18, the remaining money from 2018 will go to the Treasury Department and can no longer be claimed.

The best online tax software to like TurboTax and H&R block can help you complete your tax return to claim a tax refund for 2018, but you can’t file that comes back electronically. Tax returns for previous years must be filed on paper. You will need to print and mail your 2018 tax return for 2018 to a specific regional IRS office, depending on where you live.

Read on to find out how to claim your 2018 tax refund, including what to do if you’re missing old forms and where to send your 2018 tax return.

To learn more, find out how file your taxes for freeHow? ‘Or’ What track your tax refundHow? ‘Or’ What claim the rest of your 2021 child tax credit and how maximize this year’s biggest tax deductions and tax credits.

What is the IRS deadline for requesting a tax refund from 2018?

The IRS is required to retain unclaimed income tax refunds for three years. If you don’t claim the tax refund after three years, the money becomes the property of the US Treasury and you can’t get it back. For 2018 income tax refundsyou will need to file a return for this year by tax day — April 18 of this year.

Since previous years’ tax returns cannot be filed electronically, you will need to ensure that your 2018 is addressed to the appropriate IRS regional office and stamped by April 18. Taxpayers in Maine and Massachusetts have until April 19 of this year due to local compliance. Patriots’ Day on April 18.

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

There is no easy way for taxpayers to find out whether or not they are missing tax refund money from 2018. The only way to find out if the IRS has an old refund for you is to file a return for that year.

Theirs Tool Where is my refund can’t help – it only reports the refund status of those who have already filed their taxes.

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How do I claim my 2018 income tax refund from the IRS?

To request a refund for 2018, you must submit your 2018 tax return by mail. Most tax software vendors keep their previous years’ software available for three years. Tax software can help you complete IRS Form 1040 and all other required forms and schedules, but it cannot file electronically for you. You will need to print, sign and properly address the printed tax return, which must be postmarked by April 18, 2022.

To file an old 2018 tax return, you will need to mail it to a specific regional IRS center listed on the last page of This year Instructions for IRS Form 1040 (PDF). The address you should use depends on the state or US territory you live in.

The IRS notes that the agency may continue to withhold your 2018 tax refund if you did not file tax returns for 2019 and 2020.

What documents do I need to file my 2018 tax return?

You can find the tax forms for 2018 on the IRS forms page. If you are missing a 2018 W-2, 1098, 1099, or 5498, the IRS recommends that 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 from the transcript to file your tax return. To download an instant transcript you will need to create an IRS account online if you don’t already have one.


You must file your 2018 tax return by April 18, 2022, or any potential refund will disappear forever.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Can my unclaimed tax refund be used to cover a debt?

If you think you were due to receive a refund from 2018 but do not receive it after filing your old tax return, some or all of your tax refund may have been offset, meaning it has been used to pay overdue federal taxes, state income taxes, state unemployment compensation debts, child support, spousal support, or other federal debts as student loans.

Tax refund offsets that cover overdue federal taxes are handled by the IRS, and you should receive a notice from the agency explaining the offset. All other refund offsets are handled by the Tax Services Office’s Treasury Clearing Program, which should also send you a notice if your tax refund was used to pay debts.

If you don’t think you owe federal taxes and receive a compensation notice from the IRS, you can call the agency at 800-829-1040 for more information. For all other debt-related tax return compensation, you can call the Treasury Compensation Program at 800-304-3107 for details.

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