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Times running out on 2017 federal income tax refund

The IRS is sitting on an estimated $1.3 billion in unclaimed tax refunds from individuals who didn’t file a 2017 Form 1040 federal income tax return. If you haven’t filed your 2017 return and you think you might be due a refund, you have until May 17 to file or you forfeit the money.

Don’t miss: Why should I file a 2020 tax return?

You have three years from a filing deadline to claim a tax refund. The IRS estimates the average 2017 refund is around $865.

There is a catch though. If you also haven’t filed in 2018 and 2019 your 2017 tax refund could be held to pay any tax debt you may have. It could also be used to offset unpaid child support or student loans.

Regardless of income, it’s always a good idea to file an annual tax return, especially low-income workers. By choosing not to file, you not only lose any potential refund of overpaid taxes, but you also lose any Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) you may be eligible for. For 2017, the EITC alone was $6,318. That’s an awful lot of money to leave on the table.

If you usually don’t file, you may want to reconsider. As always, if you have any questions, feel free to contact a Henry+Horne tax professional.

Beth Hawley