How Far Back Can You File Tax Returns?

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Failing to file tax returns can lead to a multitude of problems with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Filing your tax returns can be the quickest and easiest way out of any tax issues – so you might be wondering how far back can you file tax returns. To guide you through the process, our Tampa tax debt attorneys explain everything you need to know about filing old tax returns.

Need help solving your tax problems? Contact our Tampa tax debt relief lawyers today at (813) 295-7648 to schedule a consultation!

Can I File Old Tax Returns?

The IRS doesn’t have a statute of limitations on how long you have to file past-due tax returns. Therefore, you can file old tax returns at any time, and the IRS will not decline your return. However, the IRS does have a three-year statute of limitations for you to claim a refund. The IRS could even take action against you if you try to get your tax refunds after six years.

Although the IRS doesn’t have a strict limit on how many years you have to file back taxes, that is not to say that the IRS doesn’t mind if you don’t file your tax returns on time. In general, you must have filed tax returns for the last six years to be on “good terms” with the IRS.

What Happens If I Don’t File My Tax Returns On Time?

If you fail to file your tax return at least within the last six years, the IRS may intervene and file a substitute tax return for you. So, if you had any income for the year in question, you most likely will end up owing more than if you had filed the tax return yourself or paid a professional to do it for you.

How to File Taxes for Previous Years

The process of filing a tax return for a previous year is very similar to filing a current tax return.

First, you'll need to gather all necessary tax documents for the year you wish to file.

Next, you'll need to download the tax form for the specific year you are filing. You can usually find prior-year forms in the "Forms and Publications" section on the IRS website.

Once you've completed your tax forms you can mail them to the IRS or file them online if you use a tax software.

When calculating how much you owe for a past tax return, you'll want to make sure you consider any late penalties or interest charges.

What Tax Documents Do I Need to File Back Taxes?

To file back taxes, you will need to have all the documents you would have had if you filed them on time. Below are some of the documents you will need:

  • A copy of the last tax return you filed
  • W-2 Form
  • 1099 Form
  • Other specific tax returns and forms for that tax year
  • Gather supporting documents of anything you spend that year that may be tax-deductible

If you are missing documents, you can request copies of your tax documents from the IRS. You can do so by filing Form 4506-T. You can also contact your employer or the institution that would have sent them to you. It is important to note that you will need the documentation from the tax year you are filing for. For example, you can’t file a 2021 Form 1040 to report 2020 income.

How to Deal with Tax Debt After Filing Back Taxes

If you are worried about how much you will have in tax debt, you need to contact our team at Law Offices of Darrin T. Mish, P.A.. We understand the challenges that come with dealing with tax debt. That is why we are dedicated to helping clients understand the complexities of tax laws and help them overcome their tax-related issues.

You should know that there is a way out of this mess – with the right representation, you can overcome any tax challenge you are facing and get tax relief. Let us help you take that first step towards a positive resolution.

Contact our Tampa tax debt relief attorneys today at (813) 295-7648 to schedule a consultation!

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