Guidelines for Unfiled Tax Returns


Do you have unfiled IRS income tax returns from previous years? If so, you can clear them up by filing the returns in question at any time. Here are a few guidelines to help you clear up your unfiled IRS income taxes.

unfiled tax returns

How to Calculate Your Past Income

One of the areas where many taxpayers run into trouble is when they attempt to obtain copies of their W-2 or 1099 forms from prior years. Many employers don't keep past employee wage records on file for more than a couple of years. In some cases, the entire company goes out of business and all of the employee records go up in smoke.

The good news is that you can contact the IRS to receive income information for the prior years you'll be filing. If you have the exact figures from your income but you simply don't have the actual Form W-2 or 1099, you can use Form 4852 "Substitute W-2" to enter these amounts. Simply send it in with your completed tax form.

What Tax Forms Will You Need?

When you're filing prior years' tax returns, you'll need the same forms you would use if you were filing for the current year. All taxpayers will need a Form 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ, depending on their particular income and dependent situation. If you'll be claiming itemized deductions, you'll have to include Schedule A. If you intend to claim various tax credits such as the Child Tax Credit, the Earned Income Credit or the Child and Dependent Care Credit, then you'll need the applicable forms. When you request prior years' forms from the IRS, be sure to request the entire tax instruction booklet for each year. These guides will give you directions to use when completing your returns.

Important Points to Remember When Filing a Prior Year Return

An important consideration when you're completing a past year tax return is to make sure that you use the specific tax forms for the year in question. For example, if you're filing a tax return from 2006, you must use the IRS return for that year. The applicable year for each return is clearly marked on the first page of Form 1040 and any other forms and schedules.

It's not possible to send in a past year return electronically, so you'll have to mail in your completed forms. Typically, you'll use the address listed on the second page of Form 1040 or the address given in the instruction booklet. However, if you've received a past due notice from the IRS, send your past year's return to the address on that notice for the fastest processing.

If you have previous years' tax returns that you have not filed, it's not too late to submit them to the IRS. By following the agency's directions carefully, you can bring your account back into compliance quickly.

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