How (Not!) to Make a Gift of your Refund to the IRS

The majority of taxpayers get a refund after filing their 1040. Late filing by these people is not normally a problem since all the penalties are based on the amount of tax due. But, filing too late can be costly.

When you file a 1040 requesting a refund you can think of it as having two different functions.

  • Function 1 is your report to the IRS to self-assess your total tax liability.
  • Function 2 is to file an administrative claim for a refund on the overpayment.

If you file your tax return more than 3 years after its original due date, you will lose the right to claim the excess. This is because the claim is only good for tax payments made within the three years prior to the claim itself.

This recently happened to some taxpayers in Wisconsin who filed their 1040 more than three years after the due date and lost their right to claim a $7,000 plus refund. The Golden Rule here is “FILE THE BLOODY RETURN WHEN IT’S DUE”. These things simply do not age well.

If you or someone you know has received a Notice of Intent to Levy or some other federal or state tax issue, please feel free to contact me at either (352) 317-5692 or email

Author: Jim Payne

Jim Payne, a Florida Certified Public Accountant (CPA) since 1976, offers candid insights on getting square with the IRS — with the least pain, and at the lowest cost — with (or without) the help of a tax representative. Mr. Payne is a former IRS agent and expert in business profitability, IRS audits, IRS payroll tax, and IRS non-filer issues. As a Tax Representative, his goal is clear: " I will speak on your behalf to all IRS agents, so you never have to, and I'll guide you in executing a strategy to resolve your IRS problem so you can get back to enjoying life."

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