I thought this press release was interesting. It is worth noting that the Service does not mention that the refund would be subject to three years of penalties and interest. Still, if the cost to prepare the return is low, any refund is better than no refund.
IRS Has $917 Million for People Who Have Not Filed a 2009 Income Tax Return
WASHINGTON — Refunds totaling just over $917 million may be waiting for an estimated 984,400 taxpayers who did not file a federal income tax return for 2009, the Internal Revenue Service announced today. However, to collect the money, a return for 2009 must be filed with the IRS no later than Monday, April 15, 2013.
The IRS estimates that half the potential refunds for 2009 are more than $500.
Some people may not have filed because they had too little income to require filing a tax return even though they had taxes withheld from their wages or made quarterly estimated payments. In cases where a return was not filed, the law provides most taxpayers with a three-year window of opportunity for claiming a refund. If no return is filed to claim a refund within three years, the money becomes property of the U.S. Treasury.
For 2009 returns, the window closes on April 15, 2013. The law requires that the return be properly addressed, mailed and postmarked by that date. There is no penalty for filing a late return qualifying for a refund.
The IRS reminds taxpayers seeking a 2009 refund that their checks may be held if they have not filed tax returns for 2010 and 2011. In addition, the refund will be applied to any amounts still owed to the IRS or their state tax agency, and may be used to offset unpaid child support or past due federal debts such as student loans.
By failing to file a return, people stand to lose more than refund of taxes withheld or paid during 2009. In addition, many low-and-moderate income workers may not have claimed the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). For 2009, the credit is worth as much as
$5,657. The EITC helps individuals and families whose incomes are below certain thresholds. The thresholds for 2009 were:
$43,279 ($48,279 if married filing jointly) for those with three or more qualifying children,
$40,295 ($45,295 if married filing jointly) for people with two qualifying children,
$35,463 ($40,463 if married filing jointly) for those with one qualifying child, and
$13,440 ($18,440 if married filing jointly) for people without qualifying children.
For more information, visit the EITC Home Page.
Current and prior year tax forms and instructions are available on the Forms and Publications page of IRS.gov or by calling toll-free 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676). Taxpayers who are missing Forms W-2, 1098, 1099 or 5498 for 2009, 2010 or 2011 should request copies from their employer, bank or other payer.
If these efforts are unsuccessful, taxpayers can get a free transcript showing information from these year-end documents by filing Form 4506-T, Request for Transcript of Tax Return, with the IRS or by calling 800-829-1040.