WASHINGTON, D.C. (WTAJ) — It’s estimated by the IRS that 1.5 million Americans, nearly 60,000 in Pennsylvania, are owed upwards of $1.5 billion in unclaimed 2018 tax refunds and the deadline is quickly approaching to file or say ‘goodbye’ to your money.

The IRS estimates the average for the potential refunds for 2018 to be $813 — that is, half of the refunds are more than $813 and half are less. To claim, you have to file your 2018 taxes before tax day 2022, April 15.

In Pennsylvania, it’s estimated that 59,459 people haven’t filed their 2018 taxes valued at nearly $59 million. That’s an average of $865 per Pennsylvanian. For other states’ estimated numbers, click here.

By law, most Americans only have a three-year window to file a tax return before that money is gone forever and becomes property of the U.S. Treasury.

“The IRS wants to help people who are due refunds but haven’t filed their 2018 tax returns yet,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “But people need to act quickly. By law, there’s only a three-year window to claim these refunds, which closes with this year’s April tax deadline. We want to help people get these refunds, but they need to file a 2018 tax return before this critical deadline.”

The IRS reminds taxpayers seeking a 2018 tax refund that their checks may be held if they have not filed tax returns for 2019 and 2020. In addition, the refund will be applied to any amounts still owed to the IRS or a state tax agency and may be used to offset unpaid child support or past due federal debts, such as student loans.

By failing to file a tax return, people stand to lose more than just their refund of taxes withheld or paid during 2018. Many low- and moderate-income workers may be eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). For 2018, the credit was worth as much as $6,431. The EITC helps individuals and families whose incomes are below certain thresholds. The thresholds for 2018 were:

  • $49,194 ($54,884 if married filing jointly) for those with three or more qualifying children;
  • $45,802 ($51,492 if married filing jointly) for people with two qualifying children;
  • $40,320 ($46,010 if married filing jointly) for those with one qualifying child; and
  • $15,270 ($20,950 if married filing jointly) for people without qualifying children.

Taxpayers who are unable to get missing forms from their employer or another payer can order a free wage and income transcript at IRS.gov using the Get Transcript Online tool. Alternatively, they can file Form 4506-T to request a wage and income transcript.