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Are You Owed a 2019 Tax Refund? File Your Freelance Return by July 17, 2023

Are you one of the nearly 1.5 million people across the country who has an outstanding 2019 tax return? If so, you only have a few weeks to claim your refund before the July 17, 2023, deadline after which your unclaimed refund will vanish.

According to the IRS, there are almost $1.5 billion in refunds that are unclaimed because taxpayers have not filed their 2019 tax returns yet. The IRS estimates that the average median refund for tax year 2019 was $893. 

Taxpayers have three years to file and claim their tax refunds. If they don’t file within three years, the money becomes the property of the U.S. Treasury. 

If you are a freelancer who did not file a 2019 return you need to act now, before the July 17 deadline to take advantage of this window to receive your refund. This is a special extended window because the filing deadline for 2019 unfiled returns was postponed to July 17, 2023, due to the pandemic. 

If you filed an extension for your 2019 tax return you have until October 16, 2023 to apply for your refund.

Another important point, if you do not file your 2019 return, if you were eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), you may lose that, too. In 2019, the credit was worth as much as $6,557. 

You may be eligible for the EITC in 2019 if your freelance income is below:

  • $50,162 ($55,952 if married filing jointly) for those with three or more qualifying children.
  • $46,703 ($52,493 if married filing jointly) for people with two qualifying children.
  • $41,094 ($46,884 if married filing jointly) for those with one qualifying child.
  • $15,570 ($21,370 if married filing jointly) for people without qualifying children.

If you are owed a 2019 tax refund and have not filed your returns for tax years 2020 and 2021, the funds may be held if you have not filed tax returns for 2020 and 2021. 

In addition, the refund will be applied to any amounts still owed to the IRS or a state tax agency and may be used to offset unpaid child support or past due federal debts, such as student loans.

Need to file a 2019 tax return? Here’s how to collect your required tax documents:

If you need to file your 2019 freelance tax refund, people should begin now to make sure they have enough time to file before the July deadline for 2019 refunds. 

  • If you are missing tax forms such as Forms W-2, 1098, 1099 or 5498 for the years 2019, 2020 or 2021 you can request from the third-parties who issue them.

  • Unable to get missing forms? Order a free wage and income transcript at or ask your tax professional.


To see the number of unfiled returns and the value of dollars available to taxpayers who have not claimed their refunds in specific states, you can visit State-by-state estimates of individuals who may be due 2019 income tax refunds. If you need assistance filing your 2019 refund before the July 17 deadline, be sure to contact a tax professional as soon as possible.

Jonathan Medows is a New York City based CPA who specializes in taxes and business issues for freelancers and self-employed individuals across the country. He offers a free consultation to members of Freelancer’s Union and a monthly email newsletter covering tax, accounting and business issues to freelancers on his website, — which also features a blog, how-to articles, and a comprehensive freelance tax guide.


Jonathan is happy to provide an initial consultation to freelancers. To qualify for a free consultation you must be a member of the Freelancers Union and mention this article upon contacting him. Please note that this offer is not available March 1 through April 18 and covers a general conversation about tax responsibilities of a freelancer and potential deductions. These meetings do not include review of self-prepared documents, review of self-prepared tax returns, or the review of the work of other preparers. The free meeting does not include the preparation or review of quantitative calculations of any sort. He is happy to provide such services but would need to charge an hourly rate for his time.

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Jonathan Medows, CPA

Jonathan Medows is a certified public accountant licensed in New York, New Jersey, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. He is also a recognized expert in taxation for freelancers and the self-employed—often tapped for his expert knowledge and perspective on self-employment taxation by national and regional publications such as The New York Post, BusinessWeek, Forbes taxation blog, WebCPA, CPA Practice Advisor, and others. You can read some of Jonathan’s press coverage here.

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