First, you're not alone! Needing to file back taxes is way more common than people think. We do it all the time for clients and we can help you!
Second, we know this stuff can provoke a lot of anxiety (a lot of people need to file back taxes because their anxiety has made them fear taking care of it in the first place), but in pretty much every case, even if it takes some time, getting it done is a lot easier than you fear, and it will help you move forward without having this stuff hanging over you.
Determining Which Years to File and Why
When you meet with us to do back taxes, these are some of the questions we'll be asking:
- Have you received any letters from the IRS or a state?
- Make sure to scan or take photos of every page of these letters and send us copies.
- If you've got a number of years where you haven't filed taxes, we'll try to ascertain which years we need to file based on:
- whether or not you might be eligible for a refund
- whether or not you need to respond to a letter
- if you are applying for a mortgage
- if you want to manage risk/future anxiety
Often, we may need to resolve some specific years, so you can feel confident and be timely with your taxes going forward, but, if you haven't filed for a long time, we don't necessarily need to go all the way back to the first year you didn't file to accomplish that goal.
Info/Tools That Can Help
It can be hard to remember what happened yesterday, let alone last year or five or ten years ago. The good news is that there are some things that can help remind you of what happened:
- Again, any letters you received from the IRS or state, scan or photograph every page of those and upload them to your account.
- We'll help you decipher what they mean for your tax situation.
- Log on to your IRS Account and request your "Wage and Income" and "Tax Account" transcripts for each of the years that you haven't filed. Then upload those to your account.
- You can also request transcripts from your state. (It's usually fine to start with the IRS and we'll let you know if we also need the state ones.)
- Go to your state's Revenue or Tax Department website and you should be able to find instructions for how to request these
- Prior employers can often easily provide you with old W-2s, all you have to do is ask.
- You can also access prior year tax documents and financial information by logging in to accounts such as:
- Investment and bank accounts
- Student loan accounts
- Tax prep software you used in the past
Don't let your fear of owing penalties over back taxes keep you from filing! You may be able to request abatements for late fees from the IRS (and various states), and if the tax bill is more than you can manage, there are payment plans and other options we can pursue for you.
We're here to help! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule some time to get started and get this monkey off your back.