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IRS: You have 1 week left to collect $1.5 billion unclaimed tax refunds — residents in 5 states have the most at stake

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Key Points
  • Unclaimed tax refunds totaling almost $1.5 billion may be waiting for an estimated 1.5 million taxpayers who did not file a 2018 return, according to the IRS.
  • "By law, there's only a three-year window to claim these refunds," said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig.
  • The deadline to collect an unclaimed 2018 refund is April 18, 2022.

Unclaimed income tax refunds worth almost $1.5 billion may be waiting for more than 1.5 million taxpayers who haven't filed their 2018 federal tax returns, according to the IRS.

"By law, there's only a three-year window to claim these refunds," IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said in a recent statement. So if you don't file your 2018 Form 1040 federal income tax return by this year's tax deadline, which is April 18, 2022. If you live in Maine or Massachusetts, you have until April 19, 2022.

If you don't file in time, you could be leaving hundreds of dollars on the table. The median unclaimed refund amount for 2018 is $813, according to the IRS. That means half of those refunds will be more and half will be less than $813.

And if you live in one of these five states, the chances you didn't file for 2018 are higher, according to the IRS.

5. Pennsylvania

Estimated number of people who haven't filed a federal tax return for 2018: 59,459
Median potential refund: $865

4. New York

Estimated number of people who haven't filed a federal tax return for 2018: 77,315
Median potential refund: $896

3. Florida

Estimated number of people who haven't filed a federal tax return for 2018: 98,979
Median potential refund: $818

2. Texas

Estimated number of people who haven't filed a federal tax return for 2018: 145,616
Median potential refund: $856

1. California

Estimated number of people who haven't filed a federal tax return for 2018: 148,938
Median potential refund: $776

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You can't e-file 2018 federal returns

Unfortunately, you can't file a 2018 return electronically. Prior year tax returns must be filed on paper. You'll need to print and mail your tax return for 2018 to a specific regional IRS office, depending on where you live.

If you're missing W-2s or other income forms and can't get them from you employer or a banks, you can use the IRS Get Transcript Online tool.

It's also important to note that your 2018 refund check may be held by the IRS if you don't file your 2019 or 2020 federal tax return.

In addition, some people who did not file a 2018 return could be eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit, which was worth up to $6,431 for 2018.

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