What Can I Do If I Have Unclaimed Tax Refunds?


Getting a tax refund is welcome news, but what if you’re missing out on money owed to you? It’s possible. Each year, unclaimed tax refunds stack up into the millions of dollars according to the IRS.

The reasons for unclaimed tax money can vary and likewise, so can the process for retrieving your refund. We can help you understand the types of unclaimed tax refunds and how to claim yours, so you can get back every dollar you deserve.

Unclaimed tax refund sign.

Unclaimed Tax Money – Undelivered or Lost Checks

A changed address, new bank account number or simply a check that gets lost in the mail – these are all reasons why your refund might not reach you. Whether you were expecting a paper check or a direct deposit, you can still receive your unclaimed tax money.

  • If it’s been under a year since your refund was issued, you can request that the IRS reissue it by using the IRS’s unclaimed refund database. For your protection, you must provide your Social Security number, filing status and the amount of your refund. There you’ll update your address if needed. Your refund information stays available on this site until you file a tax return for a more current year.
  • If it’s been more than a year, but under three years (the general cutoff for the statute of limitations), you have two options to request that your lost refund be reissued. If you used the Married Filing Jointly status, you should complete Form 3911, Taxpayer Statement Regarding Refund. If you used any other status, you can call the IRS at 1-800-829-1954.

Unclaimed Refunds – Missed Credits, Deductions or Errors

What happens if you find out about a credit or deduction that would have resulted in a refund — after you filed? Or maybe you learned of an error on your return that would have meant a lower balance due or more money back. If it’s been three years or fewer since the due date of your return, you can amend your return and still receive your unclaimed tax refund.

To amend your tax return, you need to complete Form 1040X and mail it to the IRS. Note, the process for amendments can take longer than when you file an original return, especially if you e-file the original return. It will take up to three weeks for the amended return to appear in the IRS system. Processing the amendment can take up to 16 weeks.

Not sure if you missed anything on a prior return? We can help. With H&R Block’s Second Look, we can review your prior year returns to check credits, deductions or errors that will help you access your unclaimed tax money.

Unclaimed Tax Returns – Filing Wasn’t Required

Not everyone is required to file a return each year because there’s a minimum amount of income before you’re required to file taxes. If you’re under that amount, you don’t have to file taxes, but you may want to, so you can get a refund of withholding or claim a refundable credit, such as the earned income credit.

The good news is that you can still receive unclaimed tax refunds if you file a return generally within three years of the due date of the return. Plus, if you decide to file a return for an earlier year to get a refund, you won’t have to worry about a penalty for a late return.

Need help filing that return?  H&R Block Software back editions makes it easy to file older tax returns, so you can collect your unclaimed refunds.

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