Schumer: NYers have money in unclaimed, undelivered tax refunds

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer has announced that tens of thousands of New York residents have millions of dollars in unclaimed and undelivered tax refunds that must be claimed by April 15, or else the money that should be in hard-working New Yorkers’ pockets will remain in Washington for good. According to the Internal Revenue Service, about 62,700 New York residents have failed to file a 2009 return or have undeliverable refunds due to address changes, leaving a median refund of about $620 in the U.S. Treasury instead of in Upstate New York families’ savings accounts.

Individuals have three years to file an old return and claim the refund that they’re owed, meaning that this is the last year that over 60,000 individuals in New York can claim the millions of dollars they are owed from 2009. In addition, thousands of New York residents have undeliverable refunds, often due to delivery problems such as address changes. To boost awareness of these unclaimed tax refunds, Schumer launched a one-click, countdown clock icon on his website,, that will provide information for individuals interested in contacting the IRS to see if they are owed a past refund. The page on Schumer’s site also includes information on e-filing 2012 taxes, which many qualifying individuals will be able to do for free this year.

Schumer noted that once a return is filed, the IRS can issue a refund check. However, due to delivery problems, including address changes, thousands of checks across New York have not reached their intended recipient and were returned by the postal service as undeliverable.

Schumer also noted that there are tens of thousands of New Yorkers who have not filed their 2009 tax returns, which means they did not receive a refund for that year. In these 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 permanently. Senator Schumer notes that for 2009 returns, the window closes on April 15, 2013. The law requires that the tax return be properly addressed, mailed and postmarked by that date. There is no penalty for filing a late return that qualifies for a refund, and potentially hundreds of dollars to gain for eligible New Yorkers. Individuals looking to claim their 2009 refund must have filed returns for 2010 and 2011 to be eligible.

To assist New Yorkers, Schumer said he has added new information to his website as individuals seek to learn if they’re eligible for a 2009 refund. The website also includes an IRS link to help thousands of New York residents with undeliverable refunds resolve their delivery problems. On the front page of, web browsers will find a new icon with a countdown clock reminding New Yorkers how long they have to claim old refunds. Clicking on the clock takes them to a one-stop clearing house with IRS contact information and more details to help individuals determine if they’re eligible. Schumer’s website also contains information on e-filing 2012 tax returns. All individuals can use the IRS FREE forms-based program that provides taxpayers with an experience comparable to paper forms. It allows individuals to choose the federal income tax forms and schedules necessary, fill in tax information, sign electronically and e-file their return. Those uncomfortable with filling out paper forms and with income less than $57,000, are eligible to file for free with tax preparation software, and can access the software or forms and information by visiting Schumer’s website.