There seems to be two categories that most income tax payers fit into. Some individuals prepare their taxes way ahead of time and enjoy their refunds long before the deadline for filing approaches. Others wait until the very last second of the very last minute that taxes are due, barely squeezing by without a penalty.

One thing most filers agree on regardless if they do things right away or at the last minute is that when it comes to paying taxes, a refund is about the only thing to get excited about. Did you know, however, that many of these refunds go unclaimed for years? Now that it is tax time, it is the perfect time to search for old, missing state refunds on the Louisiana Department of the Treasury’s website, located at www.latreasury.com.

The state owes more than $8 million in unclaimed prior-year income tax refunds to more than 173,000 Louisiana citizens. The refunds, which cover tax years 1987 to 2001, range from a penny to more than $24,000 for an individual and more than $170,000 for a business. It is amazing that so many refunds go unclaimed, but it happens all the time. In fact, wrong addresses are the main cause of unclaimed state tax refunds. If an individual moves without a forwarding address, or if an address is not written clearly on a tax form, the refund becomes unclaimed property.

Once tax refunds are turned over to the Treasury, it is our job to return them to their rightful owners. After all, government requires us to pay our taxes on time and in the correct amount. Shouldn’t government be held to the same standard when it has your money?

If you are a last-minute filer this tax season, take a quick break from your paperwork or your e-file, and check for your name on our web site. If you have already filed your taxes and received a refund this year, there is still a chance that you may be owed money from a few years back.

When you search for unclaimed property, remember to check different streets and places where you’ve lived, because the money could be listed under an old address. If you find a match, file a claim for your money online, and you’ll have your refund in a few weeks. In addition to a list of searchable state refunds, our website posts information about federal income tax refunds and unclaimed property in other states. These links are all available on our unclaimed property search page.

For more information, or to search for unclaimed state tax refunds, visit www.latreasury.comand click on the unclaimed property link at the top left of the homepage. From there, choose Unclaimed State Tax Refunds. Our Unclaimed Property Division also operates a toll-free hotline at 1-888-925-4127 (Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.). Feel free to call them if you have questions or if you need more information.

Keep in mind that we have refunds from tax years 2001 and earlier. Information on current tax year refunds is available by contacting the Louisiana Department of Revenue.