Lost and Found: How to Avoid Unclaimed IRS Tax Refunds


At last count, the IRS had over $1 billion in unclaimed tax refunds. Don’t let your refund be among them. Here are some great tips to ensure you get your hard-earned refund.

1. File Your Return Every Year

If you had a bad year and didn’t earn much money, you may be tempted not to file a return. Ditch the “why bother?” mindset and file your return. You have up to three years to file a return and to claim your refund, so if you’ve crunched the numbers after the fact and realized there’s a refund with your name on it, file your tax forms. That refund will come in handy: pay off some bills or splurge on something you’ve wanted or needed.

2. Claim Every Available Tax Deduction

Missing out on a valuable deduction could chip away at your refund. Some of the most valuable deductions include the Child Tax Credit, Mortgage Interest Deduction, and the Child and Dependent Care Credit. If you’re not sure you’re eligible, check with a qualified tax pro such as a tax accountant.

3. Report Any Address Changes to the IRS

If you move during the year and fail to report your new address to the IRS, your refund will go unclaimed because it was sent to the wrong location. You can also elect to receive your refund via direct deposit. You can select this option on your tax forms or through your DIY tax return software when filing online.

4. Double Check Your Forms For Accuracy

Your elementary school teacher was right: dot all your “I’s” cross all of your “T’s.” This rule is especially true for your tax returns. Whether you’re filing online or via hard copy, double-check all of your information, especially your address and all social security numbers. Double-check your arithmetic, too. Miscalculations or omitting information (forgetting to list a dependent, for example) can wreck havoc with your refund.

There is over $1 billion in unclaimed tax refunds. Don’t let yours be among them. File a return every year, double-check your deductions and figures, and report any address changes to the IRS.

You worked hard for that refund. Don’t let it go to waste.