Pennsylvanians Have Millions in Unclaimed 2019 Federal Tax Refunds. Are You One of Them?

FILE - In this May 8, 2008, file photo, blank U.S. Treasury checks are seen on an idle press at the Philadelphia Regional Financial Center, which disburses payments on behalf of federal agencies. If you didn't bother filing a federal tax return for 2009, it might be a good time to rethink your tax strategy. The Internal Revenue Service says it has $917 million in unclaimed tax refunds from 2009, and time is running out to claim them. The refunds are owed to nearly 1 million people who failed to file returns for 2009. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

By Ashley Adams

June 15, 2023

The three-year window for taxpayers to file and claim a 2019 federal tax refund was extended to July 17, 2023 due to the pandemic.

More than $57 million in unclaimed 2019 federal tax refunds are owed to 56,000 Pennsylvanians. 

Are you one of them?

The Internal Revenue Service estimates a total of $1.5 billion in refunds remain unclaimed because people haven’t filed their 2019 tax returns yet. 

“Many people may have overlooked filing a 2019 tax return due to the pandemic,” said IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel. “We don’t want people to miss their window to receive their refund. We encourage people to check their records and act quickly before the deadline. The IRS has several important ways that people can get help.”

The deadline to submit a tax return for tax year 2019 is July 17. The average median refund for Pennsylvanians for tax year 2019 was $924.

Under the law, taxpayers usually have three years to file and claim their tax refunds. If they don’t file within three years, the money becomes the property of the US Treasury. For 2019 tax returns, however, the three-year window for unfiled returns was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Do you need to file a 2019 tax return but don’t have the important documents you need? Here’s how you can get them.

Request Copies

Anyone who is missing their W-2s, or Forms 1098, 1099, or 5498 can request copies from their employer, bank, or other payers.

Request a Transcript

Another option is to file Form 4506-T, Request for Transcript of Tax Return, with the IRS. A wage and income transcript shows data from information returns received by the IRS, such as W-2s, 1099s, 1098s, Form 5498, and IRA contribution information. But plan ahead because written requests can take several weeks.

Go Online

If you can’t get a copy of the missing documents from your employer or other payers, use Get Transcript Online on the IRS website and get a free wage and income transcript. This is the quickest and easiest option.

Current and prior year tax forms and instructions are available online on the IRS Forms, Instructions and Publications page or by calling (800)-829-3676.

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  • Ashley Adams

    In her 16 years in the communications industry, Ashley Adams has worn many hats, including news reporter, public relations writer, marketing specialist, copy editor and technical writer. Ashley grew up in Berks County and has since returned to her roots to raise her three children.

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