March 15, 2013 at 9:07 AM ET
It sounds like an e-mail scam, but this one is actually true. The Internal Revenue Service has hundreds of millions of dollars in unclaimed 2009 tax refunds, and you may be eligible for the money.
You better act fast: This offer expires on April 15.
The IRS said Thursday that it may have refunds totaling around $917 million waiting for approximately 984,400 taxpayers who didn’t file a federal tax return in 2009.
The payoff could be substantial: The IRS said half of the potential refunds are worth more than $500.
Some people don’t file a tax return because they had too little income, even though some taxes were taken out of their paycheck.
Under IRS rules, most taxpayers who don’t file a return in a given year have three years to try to claim a refund.
You don’t have to pay a penalty for filing late if you qualify for a refund.
For the 2009 returns, the three-year deadline will hit this April 15. After that, Uncle Sam gets to keep your money.
There are some catches, though. Your refund check may be held if you didn’t file a tax return in 2010 or 2011. The IRS also may use the money toward any unpaid state or federal taxes, or toward unpaid child support payments or federal student loan debts.