$27 million waiting for RI, MA taxpayers – just file a 2013 tax return

EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The Internal Revenue Service is appealing to the “fear of missing out,” or “FOMO” — by alerting about one million taxpayers that they could have money coming to them.

The catch? They need to go back and file a 2013 federal tax return.

United States taxpayers have a three-year window to file a return and claim a refund, if they didn’t file a return for a particular year, the IRS said in a news release Monday. For 2013 tax returns, the window closes April 18, 2017; the tax return would need to postmarked by that date.

“There’s no penalty for filing a late return if you’re due a refund,” said IRS commissioner John Koskinen.

About 23,000 people in Massachusetts stand to get refunds by filing; a total of about $24,950,000. In Rhode Island, it’s about 2,900 people with $2,906,000 waiting for them.

If a taxpayer doesn’t file and claim the refunds by the deadline, the refund cash becomes the property of the U.S. Treasury.

One more catch does remain. If you file for a 2013 refund, your check may be held for various reasons; if you haven’t filed for 2014 or 2015, for example, or you owe further money to the IRS or a state tax agency. Refund money could also be held to offset unpaid child support or past due federal debts, such as student loans.

The average outstanding refund for all of 2013 is about $763 per person.

The IRS said if you can’t get your employment or other income forms (your W-2, a 1099, etc.), you can go online to get a “Wage and Income Transcript” for help in filing. (Click here.)