The IRS says 88,000 people in California haven’t claimed 2020 tax refunds. Is one of them yours?


Tax season is here and the Internal Revenue Service says many people, including in California, may be leaving more than $1 billion on the table.

The federal tax collector says that roughly 940,000 people in the U.S. have until May 17 to submit tax returns for unclaimed refunds for tax year 2020.

Some 88,000 of those people are in California. Texas, Florida and New York are the other states that have the largest amount of people potentially eligible for those refunds. The average median refund is $932 for 2020.

IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel said in a statement: “We want taxpayers to claim these refunds, but time is running out for people who may have overlooked or forgotten about these refunds. There’s a May 17 deadline to file these returns so taxpayers should start soon to make sure they don’t miss out.”

For people who need to file a return, the IRS advises taxpayers to request their W-2, 1098, 1099 or 5498 from their employer or bank – or order a free wage and income transcript using the “Get Transcript Online” tool at

Taxpayers usually have three years to file and claim refunds before the money goes to the U.S. Treasury.

Generally the deadline to claim old refunds falls around the April 15 tax deadline, but this year the three-year window for 2020 unfiled returns was postponed to May 17, because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But if taxpayers haven’t filed a return for tax year 2021 and 2022, any 2020 refunds would be withheld until they file for those years as well to make sure they don’t owe.

Werfel said “some people may not realize they may be owed a refund. We encourage people to review their files and start gathering records now, so they don’t run the risk of missing the May deadline.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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