The IRS has some money for Pennsylvanians. The tax-collection agency has about $31 million for more than 37,000 of the commonwealth’s residents.
To claim those dollars, they have to do something they should have done years ago: File 2010 federal tax returns. The logical question probably is: If people didn’t file their returns, how does the IRS even know they have money coming to them?
Employers file what they withheld from their employees’ paychecks with the IRS, so the agency knows there are people who worked, who they are and what their payroll deductions were, said IRS spokeswoman Jennifer Jenkins. Given the information the agency already has, she said March 19, the IRS can estimate what is owed to the people who have not filed their 2010 returns.
The IRS also estimates that half the potential refunds nationwide are more than $571. In Pennsylvania, the median is $614. That might not be a number that will change anybody’s life, but it’s enough to knock down some credit card debt or pay a few monthly bills.
Some people might not have filed returns because they had too little income to require filing even though they had taxes withheld from their wages or made quarterly estimated payments, Jenkins stated in a news release. The deadline to file a 2010 return by April 15, 2014, is set by law, according to Jenkins, and there is no penalty for filing a late return that qualifies for a refund.
Checks might not go into the mail for those who file their 2010 returns by April 15 if they haven’t filed for 2011 and 2012, Jenkins stated. Further, refund amounts could be applied to any money that still is owed to the IRS or Pennsylvania’s Revenue Department. Finally, refunds might be used to offset unpaid child support or past-due federal debts such as student loans.
The IRS estimates more than 900,000 nationwide might be due tax refunds when they finally get around to filing their 2010 returns. They’re owed a total of $759,889,000, a little more than the total the city of Philadelphia is owed in delinquent taxes, give a $100 million or so.
Current and prior year tax forms and instructions are available on the “Forms and Publications” page of IRS.gov or by calling toll-free 800-829-3676. Taxpayers who are missing forms W-2, 1098, 1099 or 5498 for 2010, 2011 or 2012 should requests copies from their employers, banks or other payers. ••