Do you need to file tax returns from a previous year?
If so, you are not alone. There are many individuals that for whatever circumstance, have found that they need to file old returns. The return may be from last year, from several years ago, or even many years of returns that were never filed. The process of filing old returns may seem daunting, but getting the old returns filed is the only way that you can eliminate tax problems.
The first thing that you need to know is that there is a statute of limitations on how long the IRS has to collect old tax debt and likewise, there is a statute of limitations on how long you have to collect refunds that you may be eligible for. The only way to determine if you owe taxes or are due a refund is to file the old returns.
You will need to obtain the actual return forms for the year or years that you need to file. You will not be able to use the current year return and simply change the date. Tax laws change from year to year so having the appropriate paperwork for the year in which you need to file will help you file correctly. If you are using online software, you may be able to obtain the forms via the software. You can also go to your local IRS office and get the needed forms. You do not have to explain to the IRS office why you need the forms.
Old Tax Returns
The IRS is Looking For You
Once you have the appropriate forms, you will need to complete them properly. In order to do this, you will have to have gathered all financial documents relevant to that tax year. For instance, you will need any W2’s, 1099’s, and statements and receipts that might show you have eligible deductions that can be claimed on the old return. Gathering this information may be difficult, and if you do not have the documents that you need, a tax professional can help you piece together appropriate documents to support your return.
Even if you use an online software program to complete your old returns, you will not be able to file them electronically. You must mail the return to the IRS using the address that is provided on the return paperwork. If you are filing old returns for more than one year, mail each return separately. You should send the returns via certified mail using a traceable shipping method and keep all of the information for your records.
Working With a Tax Professional
Once you have filed the old returns, you are well on your way to resolving your tax issue. If you need assistance, you may contact the IRS directly to ask an IRS agent questions, but better yet, consulting with a tax professional will ensure that your interests are protected and that you are treated fairly.