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WASHINGTON — Refunds totaling more than $1 billion may be waiting for one million people who did not file a federal income tax return for 2008, the Internal Revenue Service announced today. However, to collect the money, a return for 2008 must be filed with the IRS no later than Tuesday, April 17, 2012.

The IRS estimates that half of these potential 2008 refunds are $637 or more.

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 2008 returns, the window closes on April 17, 2012. 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 2008 refund that their checks may be held if they have not filed tax returns for 2009 and 2010. In addition, the refund will be applied to any amounts still owed to the IRS, 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 refunds of taxes withheld or paid during 2008. Some people, especially those who did not receive an economic stimulus payment in 2008, may qualify for the Recovery Rebate Credit. In addition, many low-and moderate-income workers may not have claimed the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The EITC helps individuals and families whose incomes are below certain thresholds. The thresholds for 2008 were:

  • $38,646 ($41,646 if married filing jointly) for those with two or more qualifying children,
  • $33,995 ($36,995 if married filing jointly) for people with one qualifying child, and
  • $12,880 ($15,880 if married filing jointly) for those with no qualifying children.

For more information, visit the EITC Home Page on IRS.gov.

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 2008, 2009 or 2010 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 ordering it on IRS.gov, filing Form 4506-T, or by calling 800-908-9946.

TaxACT offers online and download options for previous year returns. You can prepare and print a 2008 return using TaxACT Online Deluxe or by downloading TaxACT Deluxe for just $12.95. Start a 2008 online return or order your software now.

Individuals Who Did Not File a 2008 Return with a Potential Refund

State Individuals Median Potential Refund Total Potential Refunds ($000)*
Alabama 18,400 $641 $15,738
Alaska 5,800 $641 $5,952
Arizona 29,000 $558 $24,913
Arkansas 9,600 $620 $8,152
California 122,500 $595 $112,201
Colorado 20,500 $589 $18,909
Connecticut 12,500 $697 $13,893
Delaware 4,200 $644 $3,784
District of Columbia 4,000 $642 $3,791
Florida 70,400 $650 $66,974
Georgia 35,800 $581 $30,661
Hawaii 7,600 $714 $8,307
Idaho 4,700 $541 $3,878
Illinois 40,800 $692 $40,712
Indiana 21,800 $664 $19,590
Iowa 10,600 $658 $9,295
Kansas 11,500 $631 $10,084
Kentucky 12,300 $640 $10,501
Louisiana 20,500 $662 $18,859
Maine 4,000 $579 $3,248
Maryland 24,600 $641 $22,591
Massachusetts 23,900 $699 $22,957
Michigan 33,300 $660 $30,903
Minnesota 15,200 $584 $12,772
Mississippi 9,900 $591 $8,254
Missouri 21,600 $593 $18,213
Montana 3,600 $599 $3,192
Nebraska 5,100 $623 $4,371
Nevada 14,500 $619 $13,381
New Hampshire 4,300 $733 $4,518
New Jersey 31,300 $716 $31,185
New Mexico 8,000 $611 $7,420
New York 60,300 $686 $61,240
North Carolina 30,800 $558 $24,997
North Dakota 2,000 $625 $1,895
Ohio 36,400 $622 $31,018
Oklahoma 16,800 $620 $14,787
Oregon 18,500 $527 $14,819
Pennsylvania 38,700 $695 $35,565
Rhode Island 3,400 $674 $3,040
South Carolina 12,200 $547 $10,158
South Dakota 2,300 $669 $2,234
Tennessee 18,400 $626 $16,130
Texas 96,200 $689 $97,057
Utah 7,800 $536 $6,676
Vermont 1,700 $647 $1,410
Virginia 30,800 $624 $28,670
Washington 29,900 $705 $32,138
West Virginia 4,300 $687 $4,068
Wisconsin 14,100 $592 $11,885
Wyoming 2,600 $773 $2,919
Grand Total 1,089,000 $637 $1,009,905

*Excluding the Earned Income Tax Credit and other credits.

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