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Georgians owed $39 million in IRS refunds

By Johnny Jackson

jjackson@henryherald.com

Some 44,000 Georgians who did not file a federal income tax return for 2005 are owed a total of $39 million in unclaimed refunds, according to the Internal Revenue Service.

Nationally, more than a million taxpayers failed to claim about $1.3 billion in refunds on their 2005 tax returns.

Those who could get money back from IRS have until April 15 to file their 2005 tax returns in order to get their part of the unclaimed money, according to officials.

"Time is running out if you want to get your 2005 refund," said Mark Green, a spokesman for the IRS. "Taxpayers should review their statements for refundable credits and withholdings. During these challenging economic times, we want all Georgians to get the refund they're due."

Half of those who could claim refunds for tax year 2005 would receive more than $538, Green said.

He added that, in some cases, individuals had taxes withheld from their wages, or made payments against their tax obligation out of self-employed earnings, but had too little income to require filing a tax return. Some are eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit.

In cases where a return was not filed, the law provides most taxpayers with a three-year window of opportunity for claiming a refund. This year's window dates back to the 2005 returns.

If no return is filed to claim a refund within the three-year window of opportunity, however, the money will become the property of the U.S. Treasury. There is no penalty assessed by the IRS for filing a late return qualifying for a refund.

The IRS said it will hold the 2005 refund checks of taxpayers who have not filed their 2006 or 2007 tax returns, and the refund will be applied to any amounts still owed to the government. It may also be used to satisfy unpaid child support or past due federal debts like student loans.

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On the net:

Internal Revenue Service: www.irs.gov