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The IRS has $1.2 billion that belongs to taxpayers for 2004 tax returns. They estimate that about 1.3 million people did not file returns for 2004, and their refunds are just sitting there collecting dust. They say the average taxpayer is due a refund of $552, but they won't send it to you unless you ask for it.

If you're going to file for your refund, you better get moving! You only have until April 15 to do it. If you file a 2004 tax return after that date, you won't get your money. The IRS only has to give you a refund for three years after the original due date of the tax return. After that, you're out of luck.

And don't worry, if you were due a refund for 2004, you won't even get a penalty for filing that return late. So get on the move and get your 2004 tax return in so you don't lose the money that belongs to you.

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.

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