Have You Filed Your 2014 Tax Return?

3/1/2018 | Written by: Selena Quintanilla, CRTP
This may seem like a strange question given the fact that we are now filing our 2017 taxes, but with over 1.1 billion dollars of unclaimed money at stake, it's a question worth asking.
 
The IRS estimates that 1 million taxpayers failed to file a 2014 federal income tax return. They're attempting to match these individuals with their earnings, but time is running out. To collect their refunds, taxpayers must file their 2014 tax returns no later than this year's tax deadline, which falls on Tuesday, April 17th.
 
Though there's no way to identify the absent filers, the IRS assumes that students and part-time workers account for a large number of individuals who possibly overlooked filing for 2014. If there is even the slightest chance you may have forgotten to file, we recommended looking through your tax records to be sure.
 
Keep in mind that there is no penalty for filing a late return if a refund is due, and the law provides most taxpayers with a three-year window of opportunity for claiming their refund. However, if you fail to file your tax return within three years, the money becomes the property of the U.S. Treasury; and that can certainly feel like a punishment.
 
Curious to know how much money per return is floating around?
 
The IRS estimated midpoint for potential refunds is around $847, with half of the funds exceeding this amount, and the remaining half falling just under it. Wherever the potential recipients fall, there's a decent amount of change to be collected.
 
If you're among the group of taxpayers who are still working on their 2015 and 2016 returns, don't expect your 2014 refund check to be signed, stamped and delivered right away. The IRS may hold your refund pending submission of your 2015 and 2016 tax returns.  Also, if you owe back child support or have any federal debts, your chances of receiving a check are slim to none, as these funds will likely be used to offset your deficit.
 
Taxpayers who fail to file a tax return stand to lose more than just their refund of taxes withheld or paid during 2014. In fact, many low- and moderate-income workers may qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit, which was worth as much as $6,143 in 2014. So, even if you didn't have a filing requirement in 2014, it would be in your best interest to file for a refund.
 
The Earned Income Tax Credit is designed to aid individuals and families whose incomes fall below certain thresholds. The thresholds for 2014 are listed below.
 
•    $46,997 ($52,427 if married filing jointly) for those with three or more qualifying children;
•    $43,756 ($49,186 if married filing jointly) for people with two qualifying children;
•    $38,511 ($43,941 if married filing jointly) for those with one qualifying child, and;
•    $14,590 ($20,020 if married filing jointly) for people without qualifying children.
 
Forms for the 2014 tax year (such as Form 1040, 1040A and 1040EZ) and instructions are available on the IRS website, at IRS.gov.
 
If you're missing any forms, such as Forms W-2, 1098, 1099 or 5498 for the years 2014, 2015 or 2016, be sure to request copies from your employer or bank before submitting an incomplete tax return. If these forms cannot be obtained from either source referenced above, free wage and income transcripts can be ordered on the IRS website. The transcript contains data from information returns received by the IRS and can be used for tax filing purposes.