The economy grew at a blistering 7.2 percent pace this quarter, fueled by the IRS refund checks that arrived in most Americans’ mailboxes. Did you get yours?
If not there’s still time to claim that missing money. About 200,000 Americans are still waiting for IRS checks totaling more than $118 million in tax refunds and advance child credit payments. While it’s not too late to get yours, it’s only the tip of the iceberg. There are billions of dollars in unclaimed funds and some of it might belong to you.
The odds of winning the lottery are about 14 million to one. The odds that someone, somewhere owes you cash are a whole lot better.
This year, an estimated $2 to $3 billion is set to go into states’ bank accounts on November 1, which is the deadline by which companies in most states have to remit unclaimed assets to the state treasurer. Already an estimated $22 billion is sitting there, waiting to be claimed.
What’s there? Everything from inactive bank accounts, forgotten paychecks, lost inheritances, unused balances on prepaid phone cards, gift certificates, health insurance refund checks and stocks in companies that have been absorbed or purchased by other companies.
If you don’t claim your cash, the state will hold onto your funds forever, but you could miss out on any appreciation and interest you might have received. Besides, it’s your money, you should control it.
Start your search for unclaimed funds at your state treasurer’s website and you’ll want to search all of the states in which you’ve lived, or in which your family once resided. In Illinois, the website to go to is www.cashdash.net but there are other sites to search as well, including www.missingmoney.com and www.unclaimed.org which allow to search for your funds for free.
At www.hud.gov you can find out if you’re owed a refund on your current or former FHA home loan. And at the IRS’s website www.irs.gov you can link to a page that will tell you how to claim your missing tax refund check or other IRS refunds you may be owed.
If you get an email or letter from an organization claiming to have located missing money or unclaimed assets in your name, that should be a big clue to start looking for your cash. These companies will often offer to find your money for a fee that ranges from 20 to 50 percent of whatever they find. As long as you don’t have to put up the cash upfront, it might be worth it to see what they can find.
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Illinois State Treasurer Unclaimed Property Division PO Box 199495 Springfield, IL 02794 (217) 782-6692