For tax year 2017 Federal income tax returns, the normal April 15 deadline to claim a refund has been postponed to May 17, 2021.
The law, under Internal Revenue Code § 6511, generally provides a three-year window of opportunity to claim a refund from the time the tax return was filed or two years from the time the tax was paid, whichever is later. If a taxpayer fails to timely make a claim for refund, the money becomes property of the U.S. Treasury. So, if you are due a refund for withholding or estimated taxes, you must file your return to claim it within three years of the return due date or risk losing the refund altogether. Taxpayers must also claim tax credits, such as the Earned Income Credit, within three years of the due date of the original tax return.
For information about filing past due tax returns, see our Tax Tip. Please note that the law requires taxpayers to properly address, mail, and ensure the tax return is postmarked by the May 17, 2021, date, so we suggest you submit these tax returns by certified mail or through a private delivery service, so you have proof it was timely filed. Proper mailing information is listed under the More Resources section below. Please note that due to the COVID 19 pandemic, there are delays in processing mailed tax returns.
Additionally, foreign trusts and estates with federal income tax filing or payment obligations, who file Form 1040-NR, now have until May 17, 2021.
Helpful Information For Filing Your Past Due Return
- If you need wage and income information to help prepare a past due return, complete Form 4506-T, Request for Transcript of Tax Return, and check the box on line 8. You can also contact your employer or payer of income.
- If you need information from a prior year tax return, use Get Transcript to request a return or account transcript.
- Get online tax forms and instructions to file your past due return, or order them by calling 1-800-Tax-Form (1-800-829-3676) or 1-800-829-4059 for TTY/TDD.
- If you are experiencing difficulty preparing your return, you may be eligible for assistance through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) or the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs. See Free Tax Preparation for Qualifying Taxpayers for more information.