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More than 1.3 million Americans are still owed a tax refund from the IRS for 2017—what you should know about claiming yours

Non-filers can still file their 2017 taxes and get their unclaimed tax credits and returns through the updated May 17 deadline.

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Oscar Wong | Moment | Getty Images

Not everyone manages to file their taxes by the deadline — some people are even a few years behind. And they might be missing out on refunds as a result.

The window is closing for late filers to submit their 2017 tax returns, and as many as 1.3 million Americans could miss out on claiming their tax return.

The IRS reports there's still roughly $1.3 billion in unclaimed tax refunds for those who didn't file a return in 2017.

Typically, if you skip your taxes one year, you can file for an extension and file late. The IRS gives a maximum window of three years before you lose out on your unclaimed return. This might include people who earned below the minimum income levels in 2017 and were not required to file taxes, or those who missed the deadline for other reasons.

While filing taxes from past years seems like a hassle, non-filers from 2017 may want to consider turning in their tax return — even if they aren't required to according to their income level — since they could be missing out on tax credits and other money.

According to TurboTax, non-filers forgo the chance to receive the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), since the only way to get it is to file a tax return. Other tax credits might include:

  • Additional Child Tax Credit
  • American Opportunity Credit
  • Adoption Credit
  • Refundable Credit For Prior Year Minimum Tax
  • Health Coverage Tax Credit
  • Credit for Federal Tax on Fuels

If you're late on filing your 2017 taxes, you still have time to do so. The last day to file in time to claim your money is May 17, 2021.

However, the IRS requires previous years' taxes to be submitted on the original form. TurboTax makes this easy for its customers by offering a past years' product page where users can download tax software for the previous three years (2019, 2018 and 2017).

If you use H&R Block, you won't be able to file previous years' taxes online, but you can download prior years' products to your computer and e-file, or schedule a live appointment in person.

The average tax refund hovers around $3,000, but unclaimed refunds average about $600, according to the IRS. Still, at a time when many Americans are seeking extra cash to help make ends meet while riding out the current wave of economic uncertainty, getting caught up on your paperwork might come with an unexpected windfall.

TurboTax

On TurboTax's secure site
  • Cost

    Costs may vary depending on the plan selected - click "Learn More" for details

  • Free version

    TurboTax Free Edition. ~37% of taxpayers qualify. Form 1040 + limited credits only.

  • Mobile app

    Yes

  • Live support

    Available with some pricing and filing options

Click here for TurboTax offer details and disclosures. Terms apply.

H&R Block

On H&R Block's secure site
  • Cost

    Costs may vary depending on the plan selected (Free Online, Deluxe, Premium, or Self-Employed) - click "Learn More" for details

  • Free version

    Yes (for simple returns only)

  • Mobile app

    Yes

  • Live support

    Available with some pricing and filing options

Terms apply.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.
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