What To Do If You Have Not Done Your Taxes In Years
If you have not filed your taxes in years, you can still make it right with the United States government. It is best if you take action before the government realizes that you have failed to file your taxes and reaches out to you first. Here is what you need to do.
Contact A Tax Professional
The first thing you need to do is contact a tax professional, preferably someone who specializes on filing late tax returns. You are going to need the help of a professional to navigate filing your taxes years behind schedule. Since you are already late with your taxes, it is best to hire a professional to make sure that there are no errors on your late tax returns.
Find All Pass Income Tax Documents
Sit down and make a list of all the years that you failed to file taxes. Under each of those years, write down all the sources of income that you remember receiving that year.
Go through your records and see how many of the relevant W-2 and 1099 forms you have. For the forms that you can't find, you have a few options. First, you can reach out to the business that issued them and see if they have retained copies. If that doesn't work, you can call and request your income date for the year in question from the IRS. That should give you enough information to fill out your back taxes.
Figure Out What Credits You Qualified For
Next, you need to figure out what credits you qualified for in the missing tax years. For example, if you have children, you would need to determine what years you may have qualified for the child and dependent care credit or the earned income credit.
Once you know what credits you want to qualify for, you need to see if you can put together the proper paperwork to prove that you actually qualify for those credits. Since you are filing multiple years of taxes late, you want to make sure that there are not any errors in your returns.
Fill Out The Right Forms
Once you have all the information together, you need to work with your tax professional to actually fill out the forms. You will need to fill out the actual tax forms for the year in question. For example, if you did not file in 2005, you will need to use the 2005 tax forms, not the forms for 2015, when filling out your taxes.
After you have filled out all the right forms and put together the payments, you need to send your tax returns into the IRS. Be sure to send them via certified mail, so you have solid proof that you finally turned in your taxes.