The Internal Revenue Service announced on Wednesday that nearly 1.5 million people nationwide have left about $1.5 billion in tax refunds unclaimed.

In California, the agency estimated that 144,700 people have a total of $141,780,000 in unclaimed refunds.

Overall, the IRS estimates that the mid-point refund amount for the 2019 tax year is $893, meaning some refunds can be more or less than the estimated average amount.  

Taxpayers have until July 17 to submit their tax returns for the 2019 tax year and claim their refunds.

“The 2019 tax returns came due during the pandemic, and many people may have overlooked or forgotten about these refunds,” IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel said in a statement.

“We want taxpayers to claim these refunds, but time is running out. People face a July 17 deadline to file their returns. We recommend taxpayers start soon to ensure they don’t miss out.”

Under the law, taxpayers typically have three years to file and claim their tax returns, a news release said. If taxpayers don’t file within the three-year time frame, the money becomes the property of the U.S. Treasury.

The IRS is still encouraging people to submit their taxes since some taxpayers, especially low- and moderate-income workers, could miss out on Earned Income Tax Credit.

For people who want to file their 2019 taxes, the IRS listed a few ways to get key tax documents.

  • Taxpayers missing Forms W-2, 1098, 1099, or 5498 for 2019, 2020, or 2021 can request copies from their employer, bank, or other payers.
  • Taxpayers who can’t get that information can order a free wage and income transcript through the IRS website.
  • People can also get a wage and income transcript by filing Form 4506-T with the IRS. Requesting financial information this way can take some time, as much as seven weeks, to process.

The agency also wanted to remind taxpayers that 2022 tax returns are due on April 18, less than a week from today; however, California has extended the deadline until Oct. 16 for areas impacted by severe winter weather, including Los Angeles County.