Time is running out for hundreds of thousands of taxpayers to claim their owed 2020 tax refunds, according to the IRS.

The agency says nearly $1 billion remains unclaimed ahead of the May 17 filing deadline.

About 940,000 people across the country are among those who have unclaimed refunds, with an average median refund of $932, IRS officials said.

“There’s money remaining on the table for hundreds of thousands of people who haven’t filed 2020 tax returns,” IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel said. “We want taxpayers to claim these refunds, but time is running out for people who may have overlooked or forgotten about these refunds.”

Among those nearly 1 million taxpayers who have yet to file their 2020 returns, more than 88,000 are in California. The median potential refund in California is about $835, the IRS says.

Below is the state-by-state estimates of individuals who may be due 2020 income tax refunds, according to the IRS.

State or districtEstimated # of individualsMedian potential refundTotal potential refunds*
Alabama15,200$926$16,839,800
Alaska3,700$931$4,335,300
Arizona25,400$871$26,939,600
Arkansas8,700$923$9,392,600
California88,200$835$94,226,300
Colorado18,500$894$20,109,900
Connecticut9,800$978$11,343,600
Delaware3,600$945$4,156,500
District of Columbia2,900$968$3,503,800
Florida53,200$891$58,210,500
Georgia36,400$900$39,175,600
Hawaii5,200$979$5,972,600
Idaho4,500$761$4,369,600
Illinois36,200$956$40,608,000
Indiana19,200$922$20,893,000
Iowa9,600$953$10,601,700
Kansas8,700$900$9,285,600
Kentucky10,600$920$11,236,300
Louisiana15,100$957$17,357,300
Maine3,800$923$4,030,200
Maryland22,200$991$26,365,400
Massachusetts21,800$975$25,071,800
Michigan34,900$976$38,274,800
Minnesota13,500$818$14,043,900
Mississippi8,100$861$8,685,000
Missouri19,500$893$20,803,400
Montana3,400$851$3,632,100
Nebraska4,700$901$5,007,300
Nevada10,200$890$11,143,900
New Hampshire4,200$982$4,923,100
New Jersey24,400$920$27,408,300
New Mexico6,500$868$7,032,700
New York51,400$1,029$60,837,400
North Carolina27,500$895$29,304,100
North Dakota2,200$953$2,482,600
Ohio31,400$909$32,939,900
Oklahoma14,300$902$15,566,900
Oregon15,300$847$15,857,800
Pennsylvania38,600$1,031$43,412,900
Rhode Island2,600$986$2,980,500
South Carolina11,900$840$12,564,900
South Dakota2,200$892$2,346,300
Tennessee16,800$909$18,007,000
Texas93,400$960$107,130,200
Utah7,800$836$8,191,700
Vermont1,700$911$1,818,600
Virginia25,900$914$28,944,600
Washington26,200$976$31,110,300
West Virginia3,800$950$4,130,400
Wisconsin11,800$837$12,139,400
Wyoming2,100$961$2,416,300
Totals938,800$932$1,037,161,300

* Excluding credits.

Federal tax law dictates that taxpayers have three years to claim any unclaimed tax refunds or they automatically become property of the United States Treasury.

For 2020, however, the Federal Government extended that deadline by an additional year to accommodate challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“People faced extremely unusual situations during the pandemic, which may have led some people to forget about a potential refund on their 2020 tax returns,” Werfel said in an IRS news release. “People may have just overlooked these, including students, part-time workers and others. Some people may not realize they may be owed a refund.”

In addition to tax refunds, the IRS says many low- and moderate-income workers have even more to lose by not filing 2020 returns. The Earned Income Tax Credit, which helps individuals and families whose incomes fall below a certain threshold, was worth as much as $6,600 for taxpayers with qualifying children.

The 2020 EITC thresholds are as follows:

  • $50,594 ($56,844 if married filing jointly) for those with three or more qualifying children;
  • $47,440 ($53,330 if married filing jointly) for people with two qualifying children;
  • $41,756 ($47,646 if married filing jointly) for those with one qualifying child, and;
  • $15,820 ($21,710 if married filing jointly) for people without qualifying children.

Werfel said the IRS is encouraging eligible taxpayers to start gathering their records as soon as possible in order to file before the upcoming deadline.

Taxpayers missing their needed forms should contact their employer, bank or other payers, or use the Get Transcript Online tool, which the IRS says is “by far the quickest and easiest option.”

Additionally, you can request a transcript by filing Form 4506-T with the IRS to request a “wage and income transcript.” The IRS, however, encourages this as a last-resort option, as those written requests often take several weeks to complete.

Those hoping to cash in and receive their 2020 refunds may also have their funds held if they haven’t filed returns for 2021 or 2022. Any refund amount from 2020 will also be applied to any amounts still owed to the IRS or state tax agency.