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taxes-web2RISMEDIA, April 13, 2009-With just a few days left to file income tax returns for 2008, Jackson Hewitt Tax Service is reminding tax filers of another important tax deadline on April 15: the deadline to file or amend returns for tax year 2005. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) ecently reported that it has $1.3 billion in unclaimed refunds for people who did not file a 2005 return. In addition to standard refunds, some individuals who did not file may have been eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit, which could put even more money in their pockets.

“Every year, thousands of working taxpayers don’t file tax returns because their income levels don’t require it and they may not realize they are due a refund,” said Mark Steber, vice president of tax resources at Jackson Hewitt. “With the tough economic conditions, it makes sense this year, more than ever, for individuals who have not previously filed to consider whether they may be missing out on cash that they’re entitled to.”

Individuals who did file a 2005 individual income tax return should be mindful of the deadline, too, Steber added. Taxpayers have three years to claim a refund or amend a return for a given tax year. So a taxpayer who itemized deductions for 2005 and later realized he or she qualified for a deduction or credit that was missed, still has time to claim it. But after April 15, 2009, the IRS will no longer provide refunds for individuals who file a tax year 2005 income tax return and are deserving of a refund.

One credit both filers and non-filers may have missed is the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Generally, unmarried individuals qualified for the EITC if in 2005 they earned less than $35,263 and had more than one qualifying child living with them, earned less than $31,030 with one qualifying child or earned less than $11,750 and had no qualifying child. Married individuals who file jointly had slightly higher income limits.

Other commonly overlooked credits and deductions include:

-Interest paid on a student loan
-Mileage incurred performing charitable activities
-Select home office expenses (if the home is your primary place of business)
-Alimony payments, but not child support
-Half of self-employment tax paid
-Points paid on a mortgage or refinancing
-Payments made for health insurance by the self-employed
-Contributions to a retirement savings account like an IRA
-Required uniforms and work clothes that are otherwise not suitable for street wear

Steber notes that there is no penalty for filing late when a refund is owed. However, refund checks for 2005 may be held if an individual also did not file a return for 2006 or 2007. Taxpayers who did not file returns for 2006 and 2007 also should determine whether they are due a refund for those years, too, he added. Refund amounts will be reduced by any debt owed to the IRS or to the federal government.

“The best way to be sure you’re not leaving money on the table is to consult with a tax preparer who is knowledgeable about all of the deductions and credits and who can help determine the ones that apply to you,” Steber said.

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