Steps to File Prior Tax Returns

Many individuals have prior tax returns that have not been filed for one reason or another.  The situation may feel grim, espefilingpriorreturnscially if the IRS has already begun aggressive collection tactics in an attempt to collect tax debt.  The cycle of not filing for fear of not being able to afford to pay the tax debt starts a cycle of non filing and non paying and before you know it, you may have two, three, or even more years of unfiled returns.

It is important to recognize that you are not alone as you prepare to tackle the situation and file your prior returns.  There are many options available to you that can assist you in filing the prior returns.  The best advice may come from a certified tax professional or tax attorney that can assist you in preparing the return and also will negotiate with the IRS on your behalf.

Regardless if you plan to go it alone and prepare and file your prior return yourself, or get some assistance from tax professional, here are some steps that will help you with the process:

  • Gather Supporting Documentation – You will need to gather all of your W-2s, 1099’s and any receipts or information that you will want to use to claim deductions.  If you do not have these items, do not worry.  You can get some information from the IRS and a tax professional might be able to recommend to you how to recreate many of these documents.
  • Prepare the Return(s) – You can do this yourself or hire a tax professional to do this for you.  You will need to have the forms for the actual year in which you are filing the return.  You can get these directly from the IRS or from online software programs.
  • Assess the Return(s) – The only way you can know how much you owe the IRS is prepare and complete the return.  You may actually be due a refund.
  • Pay off your tax debt – If you owe money to the IRS, you will need to develop a plan for paying off the money that is owed.  This is another area where a certified tax professional can assist you by negotiating directly with the IRS on your behalf, possibly reducing the amount that you owe.
  • Plan for the future – As you are working through clearing up and filing prior tax returns, be sure to stay on top of the current year.  File that return on time.

Complete those 5 steps and you are well on your way to filing prior returns and getting your tax situation under control.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.