Unclaimed tax refunds for tax year 2009 state-by-state
New Jersey taxpayers could face three-month wait for refunds

$917 million awaiting taxpayers who didn't claim their 2009 tax refunds, but the money's just there until April 15, 2013

Need some extra spending money? Who doesn't?

Then your Uncle Sam might be able to help.

Federal tax refunds totaling just more than $917 million are sitting in the U.S. Treasury, just waiting for an estimated 984,400 taxpayers who did not file a federal income tax return for 2009 to claim the money.

There's just one catch. To collect the money, you have to file that old tax return you didn't send to the Internal Revenue Service three years ago.

And you must file the paperwork by this coming April 15.

In announcing the unclaimed refunds, the IRS noted that half of the potential 2009 tax year refunds are worth more $500.

I know I have lots of ways I could spend 500 bucks.

Three year window closing soon: But, and I repeat, you've got to get the 2009 tax return in by this year's filing deadline.

Under law, if an IRS refund isn't claimed within three years after it first was available, the federal government gets to keep the money.

Refunds from the 2009 tax year were handed out three years ago, during the 2010 filing season in which 2009 tax returns were due.

So if you didn't file in 2010, then as you're working on this year's Form 1040, get a copy of the 2009 paperwork and submit it, too.

Where the most unclaimed tax dollars are: As you would expect, the most populated states have the most taxpayers who didn't file their 2009 federal returns.

California, Texas, Florida, New York and Illinois top the most recent unclaimed refund list.

Top 5 States With Unclaimed 2009 Federal Tax Refunds
State # of Nonfilers

Median Potential Refund Amount

100,700 $518
Texas 86,000 $578
Florida 62,700 $577
New York 62,700 $620
Illinois 39,500 $626

Where does your state rank? Check out the full list of unclaimed 2009 refunds.

Always forgotten tax refunds: The refund oversight is an annual event. Last year, taxpayers who didn't file a return for the 2008 tax year faced missing out on more than $1 billion in unclaimed refunds.

The reasons for not filing are many, but the most common is that the individuals didn't earn enough to require that they send in a 1040.

But they did have taxes withheld from their wages, meaning that money has just been sitting there waiting for them to come and get it.

And that lesson, folks, is today's Daily Tax Tip: File a return.

Most of the time, this mandate applies to those of us who end up owing taxes. As is made painfully clear to millions each year, if you must file and don't, you'll end up in a worse situation. You'll owe taxes along with interest and penalties.

But it could be worth your while to file a tax return even when you technically don't have to do. It's the only way you can get a refund of any tax overpayment you've made.

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