FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 29, 2012
With Tax Day Just Weeks Away…SCHUMER REVEALS: THOUSANDS OF NEW YORK CITY TAXPAYERS HAVE MILLIONS IN UNCLAIMED & UNDELIVERED TAX REFUNDS THAT WILL VANISH ON TAX DAY -- URGES TAXPAYERS TO VISITSCHUMER.SENATE.GOV FOR INFO ON CLAIMING CASH THEY’RE OWED-- MEDIAN REFUND IS $686 PER TAXPAYER
Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced that thousands of New York City residents have millions of dollars in unclaimed and undelivered tax refunds that must be claimed by April 17th, or else the money that should be in hard-working New Yorkers’ pockets will remain in Washington for good. According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and 2010 Census data, about 4,216 New York City residents have undeliverable refunds due to address changes, and hundreds more residents failed to file a 2008 return, leaving a median refund of about $686 in the U.S. Treasury instead of in families’ savings accounts.
Individuals have three years to file an old return and claim the refund that they’re owed, meaning that this year is the last year that over 60,000 individuals in New York can claim the millions of dollars they are owed from 2008. In addition, thousands of New York City residents have undeliverable refunds, often due to delivery problems such as address changes. To boost awareness of these unclaimed tax refunds, Senator Schumer today launched a new, one-click, countdown clock icon on his website, www.schumer.senate.gov, that will provide information for individuals interested in contacting the IRS to see if they are owed a past refund. The page on Schumer’s site also includes information on e-filing 2011 taxes, which many qualifying individuals will be able to do for free this year.
“There are millions of dollars sitting in Washington that should be in families’ checking and savings accounts in New York City,” said Schumer. “I want to make sure that all New Yorkers get every penny that they’re owed come tax day, and I want to make it as easy as possible for them to do so. We need to do everything we can to stretch the middle-class paycheck, and making sure that families get the refund they deserve is a big step in that direction. The clock is ticking on this money, but with quick action, thousands of New Yorkers could put this money right in their pocket where it belongs.”
There are approximately 4,216 New York City residents with undeliverable tax refunds. Schumer noted that once a return is filed, the IRS can issue a refund check. However, due to delivery problems, including address changes, thousands of checks across New York City have not reached their intended recipient and were returned by the postal service as undeliverable.
Schumer also noted that there are tens of thousands of New Yorkers who have not filed their 2008 tax returns, which means they did not receive a refund for that year. In these 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 permanently. Senator Schumer notes that for 2008 returns, the window closes on April 17, 2012, slightly more than two weeks from today. The law requires that the tax return be properly addressed, mailed and postmarked by that date. There is no penalty for filing a late return that qualifies for a refund, and potentially hundreds of dollars to gain for eligible New Yorkers. Individuals looking to claim their 2008 refund must have filed returns for 2009 and 2010 to be eligible. In New York, the median refund for unfiled 2008 returns is $686.
Today, Schumer announced that he has added new information to his website to assist New Yorkers as they seek to learn if they’re eligible for a 2008 refund. The website also includes an IRS link to help thousands of New York City residents with undeliverable refunds resolve their delivery problems. On the front page of www.schumer.senate.gov, web browsers will find a new icon with a countdown clock reminding New Yorkers how long they have to claim old refunds. Clicking on the clock takes them to a one-stop clearing house with IRS contact information and more details to help individuals determine if they’re eligible. Schumer’s website also contains information on e-filing 2011 tax returns. All individuals can use the IRS FREE forms-based program that provides taxpayers with an experience comparable to paper forms. It allows individuals to choose the federal income tax forms and schedules necessary, fill in tax information, sign electronically and e-file their return. Those uncomfortable with filling out paper forms and with income less than $57,000, are eligible to file for free with tax preparation software, and can access the software or forms and information by visiting Schumer’s website.
According to the IRS, nearly 100 million Americans have utilized e-filing. Schumer points out that the tax filing process is made far easier by e-filing, which includes answers to a variety of frequently asked questions, online fill-able forms, the ability to use direct deposit, and to pay electronically. On top of that, e-filing is considered the safest and fastest option for filing taxes. While the typical paper refund takes 6-8 weeks to receive, taxpayers who file electronically could see their refund deposited in their bank account in as little as 10 days. This services adds convenience and clarity to the tax filing process, and has continued to gain in popularity in recent years.
To boost awareness of these unclaimed tax refunds as well as the convenient ways in which to file them, Senator Schumer today launched a new, one-click, countdown clock icon on his website, www.schumer.senate.gov, that will provide information for individuals interested in contacting the IRS to see if they are owed a past refund. The page on Schumer’s site also includes information on e-filing 2011 taxes, which many qualifying individuals will be able to do for free this year.