By Michael Hill
Come and get your millions New Jerseyans! That’s the message from the Internal Revenue Service to more than 34,000 New Jersey residents who didn’t file a 2011 federal return. And the government could owe each a $780 refund, and could owe the whole bunch nearly $35 million.
By comparison, more than 63,000 New Yorkers didn’t file and haven’t claimed nearly $63 million in refunds.
“Wow. They need to go get their money. They need to file and get their money,” said Newark tax filer Cheryl Washington.
“I think that’s great! Ha! I’m trying to think back if I did them in 2011 or not,” said Newark tax filer Yahel Aldahondo.
Aldahondo says he did and got a nice refund, too. He just got his 2014 tax return prepared for free at New Jersey Citizen Action‘s tax prep clinic on Halsey Street. This is Citizen Action’s ninth year offering tax experts for free to those making $53,000 or less.
The IRS says some Americans don’t earn enough money to require they file a return but they should file to claim a refund for the tax the government withheld. Others who had no tax withheld should file as well because they could get the refundable earned income tax credit.
That’s how the IRS owes some Americans who didn’t file a return in 2011 more than a billion dollars. But the government and tax preparers say assuming you owe is intimidating.
“I think it;s the fear. Oh I’m going to owe money. I don’t have the money to pay. Right now, unfortunately I owe so I just have to call to get me the inforamtion or call and payment or whatever you can do. But for the most part, I was scared too. But oh man! I’m gonna owe too. How am I going to pay this money? But again, Payment plan,” Aldahondo said.
To have the government owe you money instead of the other way around this time of year seems pretty good. But New Jersey Citizen Action tax preparers say you’d better act quickly because you’re running out of time to collect.
“For 2011, this is the only year that they can claim that refund. If there is a refund, so my thing is get it done by tomorrow, the 15th,” said New Jersey Citizen Action Assistant Manager Charmaine Arthurs-Murphy.
The clock is ticking. And even though New Jersey Citizen Action is extending this free tax prep clinic all the way until the end of May, the deadline to collect 2011’s unclaimed refunds is midnight Wednesday, April 15. Claim it or lose it.