The IRS has $1 billion in unclaimed refunds for the 2011 tax year that will soon become the property of the U.S. government if taxpayers don't come forward to claim them.
Roughly 1 million households that didn't file a 2011 tax return are owed that money, the IRS said Wednesday.
"People could be missing out on a substantial refund, especially students or part-time workers. Some people may not have filed because they didn't make much money, but they may still be entitled to a refund," IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said in a statement.
Here's what he means: Low- and moderate income workers may be eligible to claim so-called refundable credits - those that pay you money even if you have zero income tax liability.
One example: The Earned Income Tax Credit, or EITC, which is worth up to $5,751 for 2011, depending on family size.
About half of the outstanding refunds are worth more than $698, the agency said.
Among states, the IRS estimates that residents of Texas, California, Florida and New York have the most in federal refunds outstanding.