Are you behind on filing your taxes? If so, you’re not alone. Many people fall behind due to a variety of reasons, from financial hardship to simply forgetting. The good news is that it’s never too late to catch up and file those past-due returns – in fact, doing so could save you money and reduce stress in the long run.
Why Should I File My Past-Due Returns?
Filing back taxes may seem like an overwhelming task, but it’s important for several reasons:
- Avoid penalties: The longer you wait to file your return, the more penalties and interest charges will accrue. Filing sooner rather than later can help minimize these fees.
- Claim refunds: If you’re owed a refund from a previous tax year, you won’t receive it until you file the corresponding return.
- Stay compliant: When taxpayers fail to file their tax returns for several years, they risk being audited by the IRS or even facing legal action.
How Far Back Can I File?
The IRS allows taxpayers to file up to six years of back taxes as part of its voluntary compliance program. While this may sound daunting at first glance, there are resources available that can simplify the process.
Tips for Filing Back Taxes
If you’re ready to tackle your past-due tax returns, here are some tips to help make the process smoother:
- Gather necessary documents: Collect all relevant W-2s or 1099s and any other documents related to deductions or credits.
- Use software if possible: Consider using online software such as TurboTax or H&R Block’s online service which can guide filers through the process smoothly.
- Ask for professional assistance/advise : For those with complex situations beyond routine filling commonly offered by automated softwares should consider retaining a licensed enrolled agent (EA) or a certified public accountant (CPA).
- File your returns electronically: The electronic filing process is faster, more accurate, and less likely to get lost in the mail than paper filing.
Filing back taxes can seem like an intimidating task, but it’s important for taxpayers who want to avoid penalties, claim refunds they are owed, and stay compliant with the law. If you’re dealing with past-due returns and feeling overwhelmed, consider seeking professional advice from an EA or CPA. Remember that filing sooner rather than later could save you money and headaches down the road.
Q: Why should I file up to 6 years back taxes?
A: Filing your past due tax returns is important for several reasons, including avoiding penalties and interest charges that can add up quickly over time. Additionally, it’s a legal requirement under the U.S. tax laws.
Q: Can I still receive a refund if I file my past due taxes from 6 years ago?
A: No, you generally must file your federal income tax return within three years of the original filing deadline in order to claim any refund owed to you. However, any taxes paid above what was actually owed may be refunded.
Q: What happens if I don’t file my past due taxes from 6 years ago?
A: Failure-to-file penalties can accumulate at an alarming rate (up to 25% of unpaid taxes), and the IRS has broad powers to garnish wages or seize assets in order to collect unpaid balances owed by delinquent taxpayers. By voluntarily coming forward now and taking care of this issue with proper professionals, such as enrolled agents etc., individuals can avoid additional fees or legal actions by the IRS later on.