Can I claim tax refunds on unfiled returns?
Filing a complete tax return is the only way to make a valid refund claim. If the refund relates to a tax year when you don’t file a return, you have to file an original tax return within two years of paying the tax. The IRS starts the two-year period on the April 15 that immediately follows the relevant tax year.
For example, if your employer withheld federal income tax from your wages during calendar year 2014, the IRS considers the tax paid on April 15, 2015 and would have allowed you to file a valid refund claim until April 15, 2017. However, the IRS won’t issue a full refund if it exceeds the total amount of tax you paid in the two years immediately preceding the date you claim the refund.