The Steps to Filing Your Prior Year Tax Returns

Posted on 16. May, 2012 by in File Prior Taxes, Filing Prior Returns, Filing Prior Year Taxes, Prior Tax Returns

Normally, the deadline to file your taxes for the previous income year is April 15th. For example, for the year 2010, your income tax return should have been filed by no later than April 15, 2011. However, for any number of reasons, many people still have prior year tax returns that have never been filed. They may have filed them late, or never filed them at all. If you’re one of them, you should get that old tax return filed immediately, even if the IRS hasn’t sent you a letter demanding that you pay and/or file your prior year tax returns.

If you need help filling out and filing your prior year tax returns, help is available. You should have kept all the income and financial documentation you need to complete those tax returns somewhere safe. The documentation you need may include the Form W-2 that your employer completed for you, the 1099s that prove that you did contract work, the statements and receipts that demonstrate tax deductions you can take, and so on. Having as much of this documentation on hand as possible will make it much easier to complete your prior year tax returns. Of course, you may not have any of those forms. In that case, your best option is to find a tax professional who can get you the forms necessary to file the tax return. In many cases, they can help you complete your tax return even if you don’t have all of that documentation.

Alternatively, if you prefer to file your unfiled tax returns on your own, software that automates the process is available. Getting the tax returns ready to file usually takes between 2 and 3 hours for each return. However, if you want to file them yourself, you must have all the necessary supporting documentation on hand, and you will probably have to take the time to do some research and locate the paperwork you need to file your prior tax returns. You will also have to file these returns through the mail, even if you used a program or a Web site to prepare them. Electronic filing is not an option for prior year tax returns.

The only way to find out how much, if anything, you owe from prior tax years is to file your tax returns from those years. If it turns out that you’re owed a tax refund from one of those years, you can choose to apply it toward any other debt you may owe the IRS. Not only is it important to get started on filing your prior year tax returns as soon as you can, but it’s equally important to start planning ahead now, so that problems with late filing or delinquent returns will not reappear, or continue into the future.

We are a CPA firm and we help clients who need to file prior tax returns.  Call us now for a FREE consultation at 1-888-570-1033.

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