3 Simple Steps to File Unfiled Tax Returns

Get a move on! You're breaking federal law when you have unfiled tax returns. It's only a matter of time before you get caught, and when you do you face fines, penalties, and even jail time. Stop procrastinating and get caught up with the IRS.

Step One: Gather The Old Documentation

If you're catching up on years of unfiled taxes, it will take some detective work to find old W-2 and 1099 tax forms. Start by asking former employers if they have copies on hand. Otherwise, call up the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 and ask for your Wage & Income Transcripts. You can also use Form 4852, "Substitute W-2." Attach it to the front of your tax return.

Step Two: Prepare and File Forms

After you have the proper forms and publications, you need to sign and date your Tax Return (and important step that too many omit). Be sure you include all sources of income. Attach any required schedules, forms, and documentation needed.

Step Three: Send It Out

If you received a notice from the IRS, mail your past due return to the address on your notice. If you've never received a notice, send your return to the address in the form instructions.

Past due returns are processed only at certain select service centers. Keep in mind that if you send your past due return to another office it will delay the process.

Meanwhile, if you owe the IRS... The IRS won't stop their collection efforts while you prepare your back taxes and try to get compliant with the IRS. Be careful about how you answer an IRS Agent's probing questions about your tax filing status. If you don't know how to answer the IRS or what to do, just contact me. I'll point you in the right direction.