Does the Government Owe You Money?

It's officially tax season, collegiettes. This time of year can be especially confusing for college students, who have questions like: Should I file as a dependent? Which form do I use? Am I technically self-employed?

But the one question students seldom ask is the most important one: Does the government owe me money?

Just the other day, I was thinking about how lucky I am to not file any taxes this year, since I didn't have a job during the semester -- except I do have to file. I had forgotten that I worked over the spring and summer last year. This seemingly obvious fact slipped my mind, and it happens to students all over the country. If I hadn't caught my mistake, I could have lost potentially hundreds of dollars worth of tax refunds.

Many college students do overlook getting their refunds. They work a summer or part-time job, have taxes withheld and then simply don't file a tax return.

You probably know someone like this. The IRS says over a million people who are owed refunds haven't filed their taxes at some point in the last three years. There was over $1 billion just sitting in the IRS funds due to unclaimed tax returns -- and some of that belongs to college students across the country. The typical unclaimed refund is more than $700.

This means people haven't filed for their tax returns in the last few years. stated, "In cases where a tax return was not filed, the law provides most taxpayers with a three-year window of opportunity for claiming a refund. If they do not file a return within three years, the money becomes the property of the U.S. Treasury."

So, if you worked a job in 2014, 2015, or 2016 and didn't file a tax return, you still have a window of opportunity to get your money back. But if it's for 2014, you better hurry because you will lose the money this April. Here are some details on how to file a prior-year tax return.

If you made any sort of income this year, you may be due a refund. Especially if you had federal taxes withheld from your paycheck. Make sure to fill out your 1040 U.S. Individual Income Tax Return before April 17, which is the tax deadline this year. If you're still confused about what to do about your tax refunds, you can check out this video for more information.

Don’t let the government keep your hard-earned money. Remember to file for your tax return every year, collegiettes.