Getting into compliance with your tax returns

I haven’t filed my taxes for a couple of years and the IRS says I owe them money. Do I have to file my missing years before the IRS will work with me on my debt?
Yes you do have to file any tax returns from past years. You have to be in compliance with your tax filings before the IRS will work with you at all on a tax debt. The plus side is that you only have to file missing returns for the last 7 years. And if you file your returns you may see your tax debt reduced.
I want to file my missing years, but I can’t find any of my tax records for those years. What can I do?
If you don’t have your records you’re in a bit of a pickle. You can get your W-2 information from the IRS. But any itemized deductions or credits you would have been entitled to you won’t be able to claim if you don’t have evidence.
If you own a small business and you’ve lost your records you could be in serious trouble and likely have to owe the IRS additional money once you’ve filed your back taxes.
If I file my back taxes and there’s a refund do I get it?
If you’re filing back taxes you can only get refunds for taxes from the last 2 years. Anything older, regardless of whether you would have gotten a refund or not don’t count.
What can I do if the IRS says I owe money, but I’m sure I don’t?
You can file an amended return with the IRS. You must have all documents that prove you shouldn’t owe. Because an amended return is essentially an audit of the IRS the burden of proof is on you! If you can’t prove to the IRS that you shouldn’t owe the money the debt stands.
Will I go to jail if I don’t file my taxes?
Not filing your taxes is a crime and you could serve jail time, or be fined by a Federal Court. However, it is more likely that you will be subject to levies and liens.

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