47.2 When To File a Refund Claim

You may file a refund claim on Form 1040X within three years from the time your return was filed, or within two years from the time you paid your tax, whichever is later. However, a refund claim on a late-filed return may be barred under a three-year “look back” rule; see below. A return filed before its due date is treated as having been filed on the due date. If you had a filing extension and filed before the extension deadline, your return is considered filed on the actual filing date. The filing deadlines are suspended if you are unable to manage your finacial affairs; see the Planning Reminder on the next page.

A refund claim based on a bad debt or worthless securities may be made within seven years of the due date of the return for the year in which the debt or security became worthless.

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image Caution
Time Limits Must Be Observed
Failure to file a timely refund claim is fatal, regardless of its merits. Even if you expect that your claim will have to be pursued in court, you must still file a timely refund claim with the IRS. Mailing a refund claim so that it is postmarked by the due date (including extensions) qualifies as a timely filing if you use the U.S. Postal Service. The timely mailing rule also applies to refund claims that are timely deposited with private delivery services that have been designated by the IRS.

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