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$12.8 million in refunds awaiting 16,300 Tennesseans

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Refunds of more than $12.8 million may be waiting for about 16,300 Tennesseans who did not file a federal income tax return for 2010, the Internal Revenue Service announced this week.

However, to collect the money, a return for 2010 must be filed with the IRS no later than April 15.

Nationwide, almost $760 million may be waiting for an estimated 918,600 taxpayers who did not file a tax return for 2010.

The law requires that the return be properly addressed, mailed and postmarked by April 15.

“This money has to be claimed by April 15, and the only way to claim it is to file a 2010 tax return,” said IRS spokesman Dan Boone.

There is no penalty for filing a late return qualifying for a refund, but taxpayers seeking a 2010 refund may have their checks held if they have not filed tax returns for 2011 and 2012.

In addition, the refund will be applied to any amounts still owed to the IRS or their state tax agency, and may be used to offset unpaid child support or past due federal debts such as student loans.

Some people may not have filed because they had too little income to require filing a tax return, even though they had taxes withheld from their wages or made quarterly estimated payments.

In cases where a return was not filed, the law provides most taxpayers with a three-year window of opportunity for claiming a refund.

If no return is filed to claim a refund within three years, the money becomes property of the U.S. Treasury.

By failing to file a return, people stand to lose more than just their refund of taxes withheld or paid during 2010.

In addition, many low- and moderate-income workers may not have claimed the Earned Income Tax Credit. For 2010, the credit is worth as much as $5,666.

The credit helps individuals and families whose in-

comes are below certain thresholds.

Current and prior-year tax forms and instructions are available on the Forms and Publications page of IRS.gov or by calling toll-free 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

Taxpayers who are missing Forms W-2, 1098, 1099 or 5498 for 2010, 2011 or 2012 should request copies from their employer, bank or other payer.

If these efforts are unsuccessful, taxpayers can get a free transcript showing information from these year-end documents by going to IRS.gov.

Taxpayers can also file Form 4506-T to request a transcript of their tax return.