IRS has $31 million from 2010 federal tax returns

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 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. ••

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