PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — If you didn’t file your tax return in 2009, the IRS is looking for you.

But here’s a switch. The government wants to find you not to penalize you, but to give you a tax refund.

“We’re just trying to get people to know that they may be due money and they need to file to stake their claim to it before it all reverts back to the Treasury for good,” IRS spokesperson Jennifer Jenkins told KDKA money editor Jon Delano.

Turns out 984,000 taxpayers who failed to file tax returns that year are eligible for tax refunds totaling $917 million. The average refund in Pennsylvania is $619.

Some people did make too little money to file a tax return — about $18,000 for a couple that year and $9,300 for an individual.

But if taxes were withheld, says Jenkins, “The only way they can get that money back is to file a federal tax return for that year.”

And other taxpayers who failed to file may be eligible for the earned income tax credit, or EITC, that reduces their taxes to nothing and then often gives a refund.

The EITC was available in 2009 to those who made as much as $48,000 a year, married with three kids.

More than 38,000 Pennsylvanians did not file their 2009 returns and are owed over $34 million. If you’re one of them, you must file your 2009 tax return by this April 15, or your refund is forfeited.

And one more thing, there’s no penalty for filing late to get a refund.

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