Why anyone would let this happen is beyond me. Perhaps you didn’t know that you had a refund waiting on you because you didn’t file a tax return for that year or maybe you did complete your return but you forgot to mail it. Or better yet the dog ate your refund check…which kept you from cashing it and you forgot to call the IRS to have them cut you another check. I could go on and on and on….lol, but whatever your excuse may be, you should know that the IRS has three years to give you a refund.
The clock starts ticking from the original tax deadline of the return. For example, the original tax deadline to file your tax return for year 2008 would have been April 15th 2009. The 3-year count-down starts from this particular date. Therefore the 3 year deadline for you to claim your refund for 2008 is this year, April 17, 2012.
Be advised that if you fail to file your return for 2008 by the deadline, April 17, 2012…it will be gone forever. Even if you owe the IRS for other tax years….you will not be able to apply that forfeited refund to it. However, there is one exception, if you filed an extension for your return then there is a possibility that you can claim your refund outside of the 3 year limitation.
For more information about the IRS and the 3 year refund statute, see IRC Section 6511.