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IRS Issues Reminder of July 17 Deadline for 2019 Tax Year Refunds

Ruth Singleton
Published Date:
Apr 13, 2023


The IRS announced that nearly 1.5 million taxpayers have unclaimed refunds for tax year 2019 but face a July 17 deadline to submit their tax returns.

"The 2019 tax returns came due during the pandemic, and many people may have overlooked or forgotten about these refunds," said IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel. "We want taxpayers to claim these refunds, but time is running out. People face a July 17 deadline to file their returns. We recommend taxpayers start soon to make sure they don't miss out."

The IRS estimates that nearly  $1.5 billion in refunds are still unclaimed because people haven't filed their 2019 tax returns yet. The average median refund is $893 for this year, and the IRS has done a special state-by-state calculation to show how many people are potentially eligible for these refunds.

Normally, taxpayers have three years to file and claim their tax refunds. If they don't file within three years, the money becomes the property of the U.S. Treasury. But for 2019 tax returns, taxpayers have an extra three months to file to claim their refunds. The usual filing deadline to claim old refunds falls around the April tax deadline, which is April 18 this year for 2022 tax returns. But the three-year window for 2019 unfiled returns was postponed to July 17 due to the COVID-19 pandemic emergency. The IRS issued Notice 2023-21 on Feb. 27, 2023, providing legal guidance on claims made by the postponed deadline.

Werfel added that because the pandemic began in 2020, "when the 2019 tax returns were originally due, people faced extremely unusual situations. People may have simply forgotten about tax refunds with the deadline that year postponed all the way into July. We frequently see students, part-time workers and others with little income overlook filing a tax return and never realize they may be owed a refund. We encourage people to review their records and start gathering records now, so they don't run the risk of missing the July deadline."

The IRS noted that by missing out on filing a tax return, some people could lose more than just their refund of taxes withheld or paid during 2019. Many low- and moderate-income workers may be eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). For 2019, the credit was worth as much as $6,557. The EITC helps individuals and families whose incomes are below certain thresholds in 2019.

The  IRS reminded taxpayers that there are ways they can still gather the information they need to file their tax returns for 2019. But they should start early to make sure they have enough time to file before the July 17 deadline for 2019 refunds. Here are some options:

• Request copies of key documents: Taxpayers who are missing Forms W-2, 1098, 1099 or 5498 for the years 2019, 2020 or 2021 can request copies from their employer, bank or other payers.

• Use "Get Transcript Online" at Taxpayers who are unable to get those missing forms from their employer or other payers can order a free wage and income transcript at using the Get Transcript Online tool. For many taxpayers, this is by far the quickest and easiest option.

• Or request a transcript. Another option is for taxpayers to file Form 4506-T with the IRS to request a "wage and income transcript." A wage and income transcript shows data from information returns received by the IRS, such as Forms W-2, 1099, 1098, Form 5498 and IRA contribution information. Taxpayers can use the information from the transcript to file their tax return. But the IRS urged taxpayers to plan ahead, as these written requests can take several weeks; people are strongly urged to try the other options first.



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