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Senator Says: With Money Just Sitting Waiting To Be Claimed, New Yorkers Should File Tax Returns Immediately To Ensure They Don’t Lose Out On Hundreds Or Even Thousands Of Dollars; Tax Refunds For 2012 Must Be Claimed By April 18th 

Schumer Directs Thousands Who Missed Out To See if They Qualify for Free Tax Help From IRS-Trained Volunteers at:


U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today revealed that, based on data from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), approximately 57,600 New Yorkers, including more than 24,000 Upstate New Yorkers, across the state still qualify 2012 tax refunds, with an average potential refund of $796. Schumer said these refunds amount to more than $56 million statewide – more than $23 million in Upstate alone – money that should be in the pockets of New Yorkers. Schumer is urging all New Yorkers to double-, even triple-, check that they have successfully filed their 2012 tax returns and claimed their 2012 refunds. After Monday April 18th, New Yorkers will no longer be eligible to claim their 2012 tax refunds.

“There are millions of dollars just sitting in Washington that should be in the pockets of New Yorkers instead. I want to make sure that all Upstate New Yorkers get every penny that they’re eligible to receive 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 tax refunds they deserve is a big step in that direction. The clock is ticking, but with quick action, thousands of New Yorkers could put this money right in their pocket where it belongs,” said Senator Schumer.

Schumer explained that there are 57,600 New Yorkers who have not filed their tax 2012 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 to claim a refund. If you are due a refund there is no penalty if you file a late tax return. If no return is filed to claim a refund within three years, the money becomes property of the U.S. Treasury. Senator Schumer notes that for 2012 returns, the window closes on April 18, 2016, which is just a few days away. The law requires that the tax return be properly addressed, mailed and postmarked by that date.

The IRS notes that taxpayers seeking a 2012 refund may have their checks held if they have not filed tax returns for 2013 and 2014. In addition, the 2012 refund will be applied to any amounts still owed to the IRS, or their state tax agency, and may be used to offset unpaid child support or past due federal debts, such as student loans.

According to the IRS, the national median potential refunds for 2012 is $718. Many low- and moderate- income workers may not have claimed the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). For 2012, the credit is worth as much as $5,891. In New York State, the median potential refund is estimated at $796. That is why, today, Schumer encouraged Upstate New Yorkers to file their 2012 refund as soon as possible, and utilize the VITA program if they are eligible for it. According to the IRS, in New York State, there are an estimated 57,600 individuals who could be eligible for 2012 refunds, totaling roughly $56,310,000 in unclaimed returns. During the call, Schumer provided estimates on the number of individuals and potential refunds available across Upstate NY:

  • In the Capital Region, an estimated 3,354 individuals are eligible for an estimated $3,282,873 in 2012 tax refunds
  • In Central New York, an estimated 3,044 individuals are eligible for an estimated $2,978,799 in 2012 tax refunds
  • In Western New York, an estimated 3,904 individuals are eligible for an estimated $3,817,818 in 2012 tax refunds
  • In the Rochester Finger Lakes Region, an estimated 3,542 individuals are eligible for an estimated $3,468,696 in 2012 tax refunds
  • In the Southern Tier, an estimated 2,197 individuals are eligible for an estimated $2,151,043 in 2012 tax refunds
  • In the Hudson Valley, an estimated 6,777 individuals are eligible for an estimated $6,627,687 in 2012 tax refunds
  • In the North Country, an estimated 1,540 individuals are eligible for an estimated $1,509,108 in 2012 tax refunds

Schumer said the IRS’s The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers free tax help to people who generally make $54,000 or less, persons with disabilities and limited English speaking taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. In addition to VITA, the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program offers free tax help for all taxpayers, particularly those who are 60 years of age and older, specializing in questions about pensions and retirement-related issues unique to seniors. At VITA and TCE sites, IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individuals. Schumer said that New Yorkers who need help filing their tax refunds should visit, to see if they qualify for free tax help before it is too late. To locate the nearest VITA or TCE site near you, use the VITA Locator Tool here: or call 800-906-9887.