Last-minute tips from IRS; e-file for convenience, faster refund

The Internal Revenue Service offered taxpayers still working on their 2017 taxes a number of tips. These basic tips are designed to help people avoid common errors that could delay refunds or cause future tax problems.

 The IRS encourages taxpayers to file electronically. Doing so, whether through e-file or IRS Free File, vastly reduces tax return errors, as the tax software does the calculations, flags common errors and prompts taxpayers for missing information. Free File Fillable Forms means there is a free option for everyone.

 Request extra time

Anyone who needs more time to file can get it. The easiest way to do so is through the Free File link on IRS.gov. In a matter of minutes, anyone, regardless of income, can use this free service to electronically request an extension on Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. To get the extension, taxpayers must estimate their tax liability on this form and pay any amount due.

Alternatively, people can complete a paper copy of Form 4868 and mail it to the IRS. The form must be mailed with a postmark on or before April 17. Download, print and file it anytime from IRS.gov/forms.

Taxpayers are reminded, however, that an extension of time to file is not an extension of time to pay. Tax payments are generally due April 17, and taxpayers should pay as much as they can to avoid possible penalties and interest.

Make a payment, get an extension

In addition to using Free File to get a filing extension, taxpayers can pay all or part of their estimated income tax due and indicate that the payment is for an extension when using IRS Direct Pay, the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), or paying by a credit or debit card. By selecting “extension” as the reason for the payment, the IRS will also accept the payment as an extension – no need to separately file a Form 4868. Taxpayers will also receive a confirmation number after they submit their payment. When paying with Direct Pay and EFTPS taxpayers can sign up for email notifications.

Any payment made with an extension request will reduce or, if the balance is paid in full, eliminate interest and late-payment penalties that apply to payments made after April 17. The interest rate is currently 5 percent per year, compounded daily, and the late-payment penalty is normally 0.5 percent per month.

Refunds

The safest and fastest way for taxpayers to get their refund is to have it electronically deposited into their bank or other financial account. Taxpayers can use direct deposit to deposit their refund into one, two or even three accounts. See Form 8888, Allocation of Refund, for details.

 After filing, use “Where’s My Refund?” on IRS.gov or download the IRS2Go Mobile App to track the status of a refund. It provides the most up-to-date information. It’s updated once per day, usually overnight, so checking more often will not generate new information. Calling the IRS will not yield different results from those available online, nor will ordering a tax transcript.

 The IRS issues nine out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days.

 Special instructions for paper filers

 Math errors and other mistakes are common on paper returns, especially those prepared or filed in haste at the last minute. These tips may help those choosing this option:

 

  • Fill in all requested Taxpayer Identification Numbers, usually Social Security numbers, including all dependents claimed on the tax return. Check only one filing status and the appropriate exemption boxes.
  • When using the tax tables, be sure to use the correct row and column for the filing status claimed and taxable income amount shown.
  • Sign and date the return. If filing a joint return, both spouses must sign.
  • Attach all required forms and schedules.
  • Mail the return to the right address. Check Where to Fileon IRS.gov.Penalties and interest

    By law, the IRS may assess penalties to taxpayers for both failing to file a tax return and for failing to pay taxes they owe by the deadline. Taxpayers who are thinking of missing the filing deadline because they can’t pay all of the taxes they owe should consider filing and paying what they can to lessen interest and penalties. Penalties for those who owe tax and fail to file either a tax return or an extension request by April 17 can be higher than if they had filed and not paid the taxes they owed.

    The failure-to-file penalty is generally 5 percent per month and can be as much as 25 percent of the unpaid tax, depending on how late the taxpayer files. The failure-to-pay penalty, which is the penalty for any taxes not paid by the deadline, is 0.5 percent of the unpaid taxes per month.

    Installment agreements

    Qualified taxpayers can choose to pay any taxes owed over time through an installment agreement. An online payment plan can be set up in a matter of minutes. Those who owe $50,000 or less in combined tax, penalties and interest can use the Online Payment Agreement application to set up a short-term payment plan of 120-days or less, or a monthly agreement for up to 72 months.

    Alternatively, taxpayers can request a payment agreement by filing Form 9465, Installment Agreement Request. This form can be downloaded from IRS.gov/forms and should be mailed to the IRS along with a tax return, IRS bill or notice.

    Owe tax?

    Taxpayers who owe taxes can use IRS Direct Pay or any of several other electronic payment options. They are secure and easy and taxpayers receive immediate confirmation when they submit their payment. Or, mail a check or money order payable to the “United States Treasury” along with a Form 1040-V, Payment Voucher.

Updated Withholding Calculator, Form W-4 Released; Calculator Helps Taxpayers Review Withholding Following New Tax Law

If you submitted your tax return for 2017 and want to know how the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will affect your 2018 earnings, the IRS has released an updated Withholding Calculator on IRS.gov and a new version of Form W-4 to help taxpayers check their 2018 tax withholding.

The IRS urges taxpayers to use these tools to make sure they have the right amount of tax taken out of their paychecks.

“Following the major changes in the tax law, the IRS encourages employees to check their paychecks to help ensure they’re having the right amount of tax withheld for their personal situation,” said Acting IRS Commissioner David Kautter.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act made changes to the tax law, including increasing the standard deduction, removing personal exemptions, increasing the child tax credit, limiting or discontinuing certain deductions and changing the tax rates and brackets.

If changes to withholding should be made, the Withholding Calculator gives employees the information they need to fill out a new Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate. Employees will submit the completed W-4 to their employer.

“Withholding issues can be complicated, and the calculator is designed to help employees make changes based on their personal financial situation,” Kautter said. “Taking a few minutes can help taxpayers ensure they don’t have too little – or too much – withheld from their paycheck.”

Steps to Help Taxpayers: Do a “Paycheck Checkup” 

The IRS encourages employees to use the Withholding Calculator to perform a quick “paycheck checkup.”  An employee checking their withholding can help protect against having too little tax withheld and facing an unexpected tax bill or penalty at tax time in 2019. It can also prevent employees from having too much tax withheld; with the average refund topping $2,800, some taxpayers might prefer to have less tax withheld up front and receive more in their paychecks.

The Withholding Calculator can be used by taxpayers who want to update their withholding in response to the new law or who start a new job or have other changes in their personal circumstances in 2018.

As a first step to reflect the tax law changes, the IRS released new withholding tables in January. These tables were designed to produce the correct amount of tax withholding — avoiding under- and over-withholding of tax — for those with simple tax situations. This means that people with simple situations might not need to make any changes. Simple situations include singles and married couples with only one job, who have no dependents, and who have not claimed itemized deductions, adjustments to income or tax credits.

People with more complicated financial situations might need to revise their W-4.  With the new tax law changes, it’s especially important for these people to use the Withholding Calculator on IRS.gov to make sure they have the right amount of withholding.

Among the groups who should check their withholding are:

  • Two-income families.
  • People with two or more jobs at the same time or who only work for part of the year.
  • People with children who claim credits such as the Child Tax Credit.
  • People who itemized deductions in 2017.
  • People with high incomes and more complex tax returns.

Taxpayers with more complex situations might need to use Publication 505, Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax, expected to be available on IRS.gov in early spring, instead of the Withholding Calculator.  This includes those who owe self-employment tax, the alternative minimum tax, or tax on unearned income from dependents, and people who have capital gains and dividends.

Plan Ahead: Tips for Using the Withholding Calculator

The Withholding Calculator asks taxpayers to estimate their 2018 income and other items that affect their taxes, including the number of children claimed for the Child Tax Credit, Earned Income Tax Credit and other items.

Take a few minutes and plan ahead to make using the calculator on IRS.gov as easy as possible. Here are some tips:

  • Gather your most recent pay stub from work. Check to make sure it reflects the amount of Federal income tax that you have had withheld so far in 2018.
  • Have a completed copy of your 2017 (or possibly 2016) tax return handy. Information on that return can help you estimate income and other items for 2018.  However, note that the new tax law made significant changes to itemized deductions.
  • Keep in mind the Withholding Calculator results are only as accurate as the information entered. If your circumstances change during the year, come back to the calculator to make sure your withholding is still correct.
  • The Withholding Calculator does not request personally-identifiable information such as name, Social Security number, address or bank account numbers. The IRS does not save or record the information entered on the calculator. As always, watch out for tax scams, especially via email or phone calls and be especially alert to cybercriminals impersonating the IRS. The IRS does not send emails related to the calculator or the information entered.
  • Use the results from the Withholding Calculator to determine if you should complete a new Form W-4 and, if so, what information to put on a new Form W-4. There is no need to complete the worksheets that accompany Form W-4 if the calculator is used.
  • As a general rule, the fewer withholding allowances you enter on the Form W-4 the higher your tax withholding will be. Entering “0” or “1” on line 5 of the W-4 means more tax will be withheld. Entering a bigger number means less tax withholding, resulting in a smaller tax refund or potentially a tax bill or penalty.
  • If you complete a new Form W-4, you should submit it to your employer as soon as possible. With withholding occurring throughout the year, it’s better to take this step early on.

Tax deadline just days away; nearly 40 million to file by April 17

As the April 17 tax filing deadline approaches, the Internal Revenue Service is reminding the nearly 40 million taxpayers who have yet to file their tax returns that there are a variety of options to help them in the final days of the tax filing season.

 IRS tax help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week on IRS.gov. Whether filing a tax return, requesting an extension or making a payment, the IRS website can help last-minute filers on just about everything related to filing taxes.

 Information about free e-file options, such as FreeFile, how to request an automatic six-month filing extension or fast and easy ways to pay any tax due using IRS Direct Pay are available online at IRS.gov.

 The busiest part of tax season begins this week, with millions of people planning to file. Through April 6, the IRS has processed more than 101 million tax returns and issued more than 79.1 million tax refunds totaling $226.6 billion. The average refund to date is $2,864.

 Additional filing season numbers:

  • The IRS expects to receive about 14.9 million individual income tax returns for the week ending April 13, with about 13.1 million filed electronically.
  • On top of those 14.9 million tax returns, the IRS expects to receive another 17 million tax returns the following week.
  • Requests for extension are anticipated to exceed 11.6 million by next week, with the vast majority of those Forms 4868,Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, being filed electronically. Overall, this year, the IRS expects to receive more than 14 million extension requests from taxpayers.

Tax preparation help

IRS offers four electronic filing options for individual taxpayers.

  • IRS Free File and Fillable Forms: Taxpayers with income of $66,000 or less, will find one or more free tax preparation software options available only through Free File on IRS.gov. Taxpayers with incomes above $66,000 comfortable doing their own taxes can use Free File Fillable Forms.
  • Free Tax Return Preparation Sites: The IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs offer free face-to-face tax help and e-file for taxpayers who qualify.
  • Commercial Software: A multitude of tax preparation softwareto prepare and file taxes is available for purchase online and through retail outlets.
  • Authorized E-File Providers: An e-file provider is an IRS approved tax professional that is qualified to prepare, process, and transmit electronic tax returns.In addition, IRS.gov has the instructions and forms (1040,1040A or 1040EZ) to download, print, sign and mail by theApril 17 deadline. Taxpayers can also use the Interactive Tax Assistant tool to answer many tax questions they may encounter.

     Get an extension

    The IRS offers the extra time to file, automatically, to all taxpayers requesting it. A filing extension allows taxpayers until Oct. 15 to gather, prepare and file their taxes with the IRS. However, it does not extend the time to pay any tax due.

    Applying for an extension of time to file is easy – and free.Individual tax filers can e-file their extension form for freeusing Free File. They can also get an extension by paying all or part of their estimated income tax due and indicate that the payment is for an extension using Direct Pay, the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), or a credit or debit card. This way taxpayers won’t have to file a separate extension form and they will receive a confirmation number for their records.

    Taxpayers can also request an extension through a paid tax preparer, tax-preparation software, by mailing a paper Form 4868. If mailing a Form 4868, the form must be mailed to the IRS with a postmark on or before April 17.

    Make a payment

    When paying taxes this year keep in mind:

  • Electronic payment options are the quickest and easiest way to make a tax payment.
  • IRS Direct Pay is a free, easy way to pay online directly from a checking or savings account.
  • Taxpayers can choose to pay with a credit or debit cardalthough the company that processes the payment will charge a processing fee.
  • The IRS2Go app provides mobile-friendly payment options directly on a smart phone.
  • Taxpayers can pay using their tax software when they e-file. If using a tax preparer, ask the preparer to make the tax payment electronically.
  • Taxpayers may also enroll in the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System and have a choice of using the internet or phone by using the EFTPS Voice Response System.
  • Never send cash by mail. Taxpayers can make a cash payment without the need of a bank account or credit card at more than 7,000 7-Eleven stores nationwideIRS.gov/paywithcash.
  • Taxpayers can go to IRS.gov/account to securely access information about their federal tax account. They can view the amount they owe, access their tax records online, review the past 18 months of payment history, and view key tax return information for the most recent tax return as originally filed.

IRS reminds those with foreign assets about U.S. tax obligations

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today reminded U.S. citizens and resident aliens, including those with dual citizenship, to check if they have a U.S. tax liability and a filing requirement. At the same time, the agency advised anyone with a foreign bank or financial account to remember the upcoming deadline that applies to reports for these accounts, often referred to as FBARs.

Here is a rundown of key points to keep in mind:

Deadline for reporting foreign accounts

The deadline for filing the annual Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) is the same as for a federal income tax return. This means that the 2017 FBAR, Form 114, must be filed electronically with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) by April 17, 2018. FinCEN grants filers missing the April 17 deadline an automatic extension until Oct. 15, 2018, to file the FBAR. Specific extension requests are not required. In the past, the FBAR deadline was June 30 and no extensions were available.

In general, the filing requirement applies to anyone who had an interest in, or signature or other authority, over foreign financial accounts whose aggregate value exceeded $10,000 at any time during 2017. Because of this threshold, the IRS encourages taxpayers with foreign assets, even relatively small ones, to check if this filing requirement applies to them. The form is only available through the BSA E-Filing System website.

Reminder: IRS to end Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program

The Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program will close on Sept. 28, 2018. Taxpayers with undisclosed foreign financial assets still have time to use OVDP before the deadline. For further details about the OVDP, see the OVDP FAQs.

The IRS noted it will continue to use tools besides voluntary disclosure to combat offshore tax avoidance, including taxpayer education, whistleblower leads, civil examination and criminal prosecution. The IRS continues to use streamlined filing compliance procedures that will remain in place and be available to eligible taxpayers. But, as with OVDP, the IRS said it may end the streamlined filing compliance procedures at some point. Full details of the OVDP and the streamlined filing compliance procedures are available at Options Available for U.S. Taxpayers with Undisclosed Foreign Financial Assets.

Most people abroad need to file

An income tax filing requirement generally applies even if a taxpayer qualifies for tax benefits, such as the Foreign Earned Income exclusion or the Foreign Tax credit, which substantially reduce or eliminate U.S. tax liability. These tax benefits are only available if an eligible taxpayer files a U.S. income tax return.

A special extended filing and payment deadline applies to U.S. citizens and resident aliens who live and work abroad. For U.S. citizens and resident aliens whose tax home and abode are outside the United States and Puerto Rico, the income tax filing and payment deadline is June 15, 2018. The same applies for those serving in the military outside the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

Interest, currently at the rate of five percent per year, compounded daily, will apply to any payment received after the regular April 17 deadline. See U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad for details.

Nonresident aliens who received income from U.S. sources in 2017 also must determine whether they have a U.S. tax obligation. The filing deadline for nonresident aliens is April 17. See Taxation of Nonresident Aliens on IRS.gov.

Special income tax return reporting for foreign accounts and assets

Federal law requires U.S. citizens and resident aliens to report any worldwide income, including income from foreign trusts and foreign bank and securities accounts. In most cases, affected taxpayers need to complete and attach Schedule B to their tax return. Part III of Schedule B asks about the existence of foreign accounts, such as bank and securities accounts, and usually requires U.S. citizens to report the country in which each account is located.

In addition, certain taxpayers may also have to complete and attach to their return Form 8938, Statement of Foreign Financial Assets. Generally, U.S. citizens, resident aliens and certain nonresident aliens must report specified foreign financial assets on this form if the aggregate value of those assets exceeds certain thresholds. See the instructions for this form for details.

Specified domestic entity reporting

For tax year 2017, certain domestic corporations, partnerships and trusts that are considered formed for the purpose of holding (directly or indirectly) specified foreign financial assets must file Form 8938 if the total value of those assets exceeds $50,000 on the last day of the tax year or $75,000 at any time during the tax year.

For more information on domestic corporations, partnerships and trusts that are specified domestic entities and must file Form 8938, as well as the types of specified foreign financial assets that must be reported, see Do I need to file Form 8938, “Statement of Specified Foreign Financial Assets”? and Form 8938 instructions.

Report in U.S. dollars

Any income received or deductible expenses paid in foreign currency must be reported on a U.S. tax return in U.S. dollars. Likewise, any tax payments must be made in U.S. dollars.

Both FinCen Form 114 and IRS Form 8938 require the use of a Dec. 31exchange rate for all transactions, regardless of the actual exchange rate on the date of the transaction. Generally, the IRS accepts any posted exchange rate that is used consistently. For more information on exchange rates, see Foreign Currency and Currency Exchange Rates.

Expatriate reporting

Taxpayers who relinquished their U.S. citizenship or ceased to be lawful permanent residents of the United States during 2017 must file a dual-status alien return, attaching Form 8854, Initial and Annual Expatriation Statement. A copy of the Form 8854 must also be filed with Internal Revenue Service, Philadelphia, PA 19255-0049, by the due date of the tax return (including extensions). See the instructions for this form and Notice 2009-85, Guidance for Expatriates Under Section 877A, for further details.

Choose Free File or e-file

U.S. citizens and resident aliens living abroad can use IRS Free File to prepare and electronically file their returns for free. This means both U.S. citizens and resident aliens living abroad with adjusted gross incomes (AGI) of $66,000 or less can use brand-name software to prepare their returns and then e-file them for free. A limited number of companies provide software that can accommodate foreign addresses.

A second option, Free File Fillable Forms, the electronic version of IRS paper forms, has no income limit and is best suited to people who are comfortable preparing their own tax return. Both the e-file and Free File electronic filing options are available until Oct. 15, 2018, for anyone filing a 2017 return. Check out the e-file link on IRS.gov for details on the various electronic filing options. Free File is not available to nonresident aliens required to file a Form 1040NR.

More information available

Any U.S. taxpayer here or abroad with tax questions can refer to the International Taxpayers page and use the online IRS Tax Map and the International Tax Topic Index to get answers. These online tools group IRS forms, publications and web pages by subject and provide users with a single-entry point to find tax information.

Taxpayers who are looking for return preparers abroad should visit the Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications.

To help avoid delays with tax refunds, taxpayers living abroad should visit Helpful Tips for Effectively Receiving a Tax Refund for Taxpayers Living Abroad on IRS.gov.

More information on the tax rules that apply to U.S. citizens and resident aliens living abroad can be found in Publication 54, Tax Guide for U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad, available on IRS.gov.

IRS Can Help Taxpayers Get Form W-2

Most taxpayers got their Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, by the end of January. Taxpayers need their W-2s to file an accurate tax returns, as the form shows an employee’s income and taxes withheld for the year.

Taxpayers who haven’t received their W-2 by the end of February should:

• Contact their Employer. Taxpayers should ask their current or former employer for a copy of their W-2. Be sure the employer has the correct address.

• Call the IRS. Taxpayers who are unable to get a copy from their employer by the end of February may call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 for a substitute W-2. The IRS will send a letter to the employer on taxpayers’ behalf. When they call, taxpayers need their:

  • Name, address, Social Security number and phone number.
  • Employer’s name, address and phone number.
  • Employment dates.
  • Estimate of wages and federal income tax withheld in 2017. Use a final pay stub for these amounts.

• File on Time. Taxpayers should file their tax return by April 17, 2018. If they still haven’t received their W-2, they should use Form 4852, Substitute for Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement. They should estimate their wages and taxes withheld as best as possible. To request more time to file, they should use Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File. Taxpayers can also e-file a request for more time using IRS Free File. Taxpayers should remember that an extension of time to file isn’t an extension of time to pay taxes owed. Taxpayers can also get an extension by paying all or part of their estimated income tax due, and indicate that the payment is for an extension using Direct Pay, the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System, or a credit or debit card. This way, the taxpayer won’t have to file a separate extension form and will receive a confirmation number for their records.

• Correct a Tax Return, if Necessary. Taxpayers may need to correct their tax return. This could happen if they get a missing W-2 after they file. If the tax information on the W-2 is different from what they first reported, they may need to file an amended tax return. Use Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, to make the change.

All taxpayers should keep a copy of their tax return. Taxpayers using a software product for the first time may need their Adjusted Gross Income from last year’s tax return to verify their identity. Taxpayers can learn more about how to verify their identity and electronically sign tax returns at Validating Your Electronically Filed Tax Return.

Taxpayers should report virtual currency transactions

The Internal Revenue Service reminded taxpayers that income from virtual currency transactions is reportable on their income tax returns.

Virtual currency transactions are taxable by law just like transactions in any other property. The IRS has issued guidance in IRS Notice 2014-21 for use by taxpayers and their return preparers that addresses transactions in virtual currency, also known as digital currency.

Taxpayers who do not properly report the income tax consequences of virtual currency transactions can be audited for those transactions and, when appropriate, can be liable for penalties and interest.

In more extreme situations, taxpayers could be subject to criminal prosecution for failing to properly report the income tax consequences of virtual currency transactions. Criminal charges could include tax evasion and filing a false tax return. Anyone convicted of tax evasion is subject to a prison term of up to five years and a fine of up to $250,000. Anyone convicted of filing a false return is subject to a prison term of up to three years and a fine of up to $250,000.

Virtual currency, as generally defined, is a digital representation of value that functions in the same manner as a country’s traditional currency. There are currently more than 1,500 known virtual currencies. Because transactions in virtual currencies can be difficult to trace and have an inherently pseudo-anonymous aspect, some taxpayers may be tempted to hide taxable income from the IRS.

Notice 2014-21 provides that virtual currency is treated as property for U.S. federal tax purposes. General tax principles that apply to property transactions apply to transactions using virtual currency. Among other things, this means that:

  • A payment made using virtual currency is subject to information reporting to the same extent as any other payment made in property.
  • Payments using virtual currency made to independent contractors and other service providers are taxable, and self-employment tax rules generally apply.  Normally, payers must issue Form 1099-MISC.
  • Wages paid to employees using virtual currency are taxable to the employee, must be reported by an employer on a Form W-2 and are subject to federal income tax withholding and payroll taxes.
  • Certain third parties who settle payments made in virtual currency on behalf of merchants that accept virtual currency from their customers are required to report payments to those merchants on Form 1099-K, Payment Card and Third Party Network Transactions.
  • The character of gain or loss from the sale or exchange of virtual currency depends on whether the virtual currency is a capital asset in the hands of the taxpayer.

Tips for Getting Unclaimed 2014 Tax Refunds

The IRS reminds taxpayers they may have money waiting for them. About 1 million taxpayers who did not file a 2014 federal income tax return have unclaimed tax refunds totaling about $1.1 billion. Here are some things taxpayers should know about these unclaimed refunds:

  • To collect the money, taxpayers must file their 2014 tax return with the IRS no later than this year’s tax deadline, Tuesday, April 17.

  • The IRS estimates that half of the refunds are more than $847.

  • When a taxpayer who is getting a refund does not file a return, the law gives them three years to claim that tax refund. If the taxpayer does not file a tax return within three years, the money goes back to the U.S. Treasury. For 2014 tax returns, the three-year window closes April 17, 2018.

  • The law requires taxpayers to properly address and mail the tax return to the IRS. It must be postmarked by the April deadline.

  • The IRS may hold the 2014 refunds of taxpayers who have not filed tax returns for 2015 and 2016.

  • The unclaimed money will be applied to any amounts still owed to the IRS or a state tax agency. The money may also be used to offset unpaid child support or past due federal debts, such as student loans.

  • By failing to file a tax return, people stand to lose more than just their tax refund. Many low- and moderate-income workers may be eligible for the earned income tax credit. For 2014, the credit was worth as much as $6,143.

  • Current and prior year tax forms are available on the IRS.gov Forms, Instructions and Publications page or by calling toll-free 800-TAX-FORM. This includes forms 1040, 1040A and 1040EZ for 2014.

  • Taxpayers who are missing forms W-2, 1098, 1099 or 5498 for the years 2014, 2015 or 2016 should request copies from their employer, bank or other payer. Taxpayers who are unable to get missing forms can order a free wage and income transcript at IRS.gov using the Get Transcript Online tool. Taxpayers can use the information on the transcript to file their tax return.