BOSTON – An estimated 3,300 Rhode Island residents did not file a federal income tax return for 2009, according to the IRS, which added that refunds totaling more than $3 million await those who file by April 15.
To collect the refunds, 2009 federal returns must be filed with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service no later than April 15. Returns must be properly addressed, mailed and postmarked by the 15th.
According to an IRS release, half the potential refunds due to Rhode Island taxpayers for 2009 top $612. There is no penalty for filing a late return qualifying for a refund.
Nationally, more than $917 million awaits an estimated 984,400 taxpayers who failed to file a federal income tax return in 2009. The IRS estimates that half of the potential refunds top $500 per filer.
The IRS release said that some people may not have filed because they had too little income to require filing a return even though they had taxes withheld from their wages or made quarterly estimated payments.
“In cases where a return was not filed, the law provides most taxpayers with a three-year window of opportunity for claiming a refund,” said the release, adding that if no tax return is filed within three years, the money becomes the property of the U.S. Treasury.
Taxpayers seeking a 2009 refund may have their checks withheld if they have not filed returns for 2010 and 2011. “In addition, the 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,” said the release.
The release added that many low- and moderate-income workers may not have claimed the Earned Income Tax Credit for 2009, which was worth as much as $5,657. The tax credit is designed to help families and individuals whose incomes fall below certain thresholds.
In 2009, the thresholds were:
$43,279 ($48,279 if married filing jointly) for those with three or more qualifying children;
$40,295 ($45,295 if married filing jointly) for people with two qualifying children;
$35,463 ($40,463 if married filing jointly) for those with one qualifying child; or
$13,440 ($18,440 if married filing jointly) for people without qualifying children.