Ask Your Advocate: How To Get Your Unclaimed Tax Refund

How do I find unclaimed money?

I’ve moved a lot over the last five years, and I sometimes don’t fill out a change of address form. One of my friends mentioned that I should check to see if I might have money that I’ve overlooked from past jobs or tax refunds. What’s the best way to find out if I have unclaimed money?

—R. Reynolds
New York City

If you moved, were laid off from a job, or retired, you might have some unclaimed money. A good place to start is by contacting your state’s Unclaimed Property Division. The National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (www.unclaimed.org) has a helpful map that takes you directly to the Website of your desired state’s Unclaimed Property Division when you click on that state. The financial information Website Bankrate.com (www.bankrate.com) also has a map that allows you to click on your state and automatically get the mailing address, Website, and phone number of the desired agency. You should conduct a search in every state where you have lived. You can access this map by clicking the tab labeled “Checking and Savings” and conducting a search for the article “State Agencies that Help You Find Unclaimed Money.”

To locate an unclaimed tax refund, go to the IRS Website (www.irs.gov) and click on the “Where’s My Refund?” tab. You have three years from the filing date to claim a tax refund or two years from the date that you paid any taxes owed (whichever is later). After that, you may be out of luck.

This article originally appeared in the March 2010 issue of Black Enterprise magazine.

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