File 1998 Tax Returns Now or Give Up Refund

The IRS wants to remind taxpayers who have not yet filed 1998 tax returns that they will be ineligible to claim a refund for 1998 if the tax return is not filed by midnight, April 15, 2002.

According to the IRS, more than $2.3 billion in unclaimed refunds is awaiting tax filings from approximately 1.7 million taxpayers who have yet to file their 1998 tax returns. Any refunds not claimed by April 15, 2002 will become the official property of the U.S. Department of Treasury.

About half of the taxpayers who have outstanding refunds from 1998 tax returns are eligible for refunds of under $500. Other taxpayers are entitled to claim much more.

Some taxpayers may not have filed a 1998 tax return because their income level was low enough that they were not required to file. These taxpayers, however, may have had taxes withheld from earnings for which they are entitled a refund.

Other low-income taxpayers who were eligible for the refundable Earned Income Credit may not have realized the credit is available to them. For 1998, taxpayers who qualified for this credit included:

  • Taxpayers with more than one qualifying child living with them and income of less than $30,095,
  • Taxpayers with one qualifying child living with them and income of less than $26,473, and
  • Taxpayers with no qualifying child and income of less than $10,030.

Tax forms for 1998 are available on the IRS Web site or may be requested by calling the IRS at 1-800-TAX-FORM.

Taxpayers who have not yet filed federal tax forms for 1998 should also consider their state filing responsibilities for that year.

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