IRS last call for taxpayers to claim $1.5 billion in tax refunds from unfiled 2019 tax returns: July 17 deadline rapidly approaching

IRS reminds us in IR-2023-122 that nearly 1.5 million taxpayers have until July 17, 2023 to file their 2019 US income tax returns or they will lose any potential resulting refunds.

The Internal Revenue Service issued a final reminder today to nearly 1.5 million taxpayers across the country to claim their refunds for tax year 2019 by filing before the July 17, 2023, deadline. 

For these unclaimed refunds, the IRS estimates average median refund for tax year 2019 amounts to $893. 

“Time is running out for people owed a tax refund in 2019,” said IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel. “The final window closes on July 17 for taxpayers who didn’t file a tax return for 2019 to claim their refund. The IRS continues to urge people who may have overlooked filing during the pandemic to act quickly before they lose their final chance to claim a potentially substantial refund.”

Many low- and moderate-income workers may be eligible for as much as $6,557 if their 2019 income qualifies them for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Those who are potentially eligible for EITC in 2019 had incomes below the following thresholds:

  • $50,162 ($55,952 if married filing jointly) for those with three or more qualifying children.
  • $46,703 ($52,493 if married filing jointly) for people with two qualifying children.
  • $41,094 ($46,884 if married filing jointly) for those with one qualifying child.
  • $15,570 ($21,370 if married filing jointly) for people without qualifying children.

By law, taxpayers normally 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. The law requires taxpayers to properly address, mail and ensure the tax return is postmarked by July 17, 2023.

The IRS reminds taxpayers seeking a 2019 tax refund that their checks may be held if they have not filed tax returns for 2020 and 2021.

Current and prior-year tax forms (such as the tax year 2019 Forms 1040 and 1040-SR) and instructions are available online on the IRS Forms, Instructions and Publications page or by calling toll-free 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

In addition, the refund will be applied to any amounts still owed to the IRS or a state tax agency and may be used to offset unpaid child support or past due federal debts, such as student loans. IRS Notice 2023-21 provides legal guidance on claims made by the postponed deadline.

Need to file a 2019 tax return? Several options to get key documents
Although it’s been several years since 2019, the IRS reminds taxpayers there are ways they can still gather the information they need to file this tax return. People should begin now to make sure they have enough time to file before the July 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 For many taxpayers, this is by far the quickest and easiest option.

Request a transcript. Another option is for people to file Form 4506-T, Request for Transcript of Tax Return, 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 plan ahead – these written requests can take several weeks; people are strongly urged to try the other options first.

State-by-state estimates of individuals who may be due 2019 income tax refunds

People have more time than usual to file tax returns to claim their refunds for tax year 2019. The three-year window for 2019 unfiled returns was postponed to July 17, 2023, due to the COVID-19 pandemic emergency.

The IRS estimates almost $1.5 billion in refunds remain unclaimed. Based on tax information currently available, a special state-by-state estimate shows each state’s median potential refund and how many people are potentially eligible for these refunds. The actual refund amount will vary based on a household’s tax situation. 


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