I Havent Filed a Tax Return with IRS in Years, What Do I Do?

In elementary school, kids come up with creative excuses why they did not bring in their homework. "My dog ate it" or "It was stolen by invisible space aliens" might be given as a reason why something was not turned in on time. Don't try those excuses with the IRS! Don't blame divorce, business failures, or family troubles either, because except under extreme circumstances, they won't register with the taxman.

If you have unfiled tax returns, you need to file at least the last 6-7 years. Although under law IRS could make you go back and file that return from the late 1970's when you were a disco diva or urban cowboy, the good news is that as a matter of policy they don't! In most cases, filing the last 6-7 years will be OK and IRS will consider you in compliance. So don't procrastinate any further, file the returns if you made over the standard deduction and personal exemption amounts during those years or were self-employed.

People delay filing returns for 3 main reasons:

1. They are afraid or embarrassed;

2. They have lost the records or don't know where to go to get the returns done; or

3. Some crackpot advised them income taxes are bogus and that they don't have to file.

Don't be afraid of filing, be afraid of what will happen if you don't file. IRS could file for you and you might owe more than if you would have done it yourself or IRS could send somebody out looking for you. It is not a crime to owe IRS money, it can be a crime under some circumstances for not filing a tax return or a false return.

If you lost your records relax, in most case you can get all your income data from IRS so that you can prepare the tax returns. If you had deductions, you may have to dig those up and organize your records.

IRS is a legitimate government agency and they can and do enforce the laws on filing a Federal Tax Return. It sounds good when somebody says IRS is a fraud, but it is a lie. We all have to pay taxes.

If you havent't filed in years you can call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 and after lots of time on hold and maybe a few transfers, you will eventually get somebody who can help you get your W2 info mailed to you. Your local library may have old tax forms and tax books to help you do the returns. You can do it yourself, but I suggest getting a professional to help you.

Don't go to some guy or gal advertising on TV with a big company. Go to a professional person or small firm where you can talk one on one with a CPA, Enrolled Agent, or Tax Attorney. It doesn't have to be a local person, you could hire someone across the country. With email, fax, etc. you can avoid some embarassment of going to a local tax pro if you live in a small town by hiring someone far away. But don't hire somebody without checking them out. Read any contract they send you. Don't part with your hard earned money unless you are sure of their qualifications.

Members of the following organizations must adhere to high ethical standards and might be a good choice for you: National Society of Accountants (NSA); National Association of Enrolled Agents (NAEA); or the American Insitute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). You might also look for professionals holding the Accredited Tax Preparer (ATP) or Accredited Tax Advisor (ATA) designation.

Don't let your cousin Jimmy do your returns or that nice neighbor who says he is an expert. I have seen more screwed up returns done by friends and relatives than I care to remember.

Get peace of mind, file those returns. You may owe money but you may have a refund waiting. Guess what, if you file the return more than three years after the due date; you lose the refund!

Here are some sites that can give you more info:

www.irs.gov
www.naea.org
www.nsacct.org
www.exirsman.com

James Robert Coleman, E.A., A.T.A.
Enrolled Agent & Accredited Tax Advisor
Member: National Association of Enrolled Agents
Former IRS Revenue Officer, GS-11
http://www.exirsman.com

In The News:

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Corporate tax rate cut will boost earnings by 15-17%: Sushil Kedia  Moneycontrol.comSlashing corporate tax rates is a 'regime change' sort of move and will work for over 10-15 years, said Sushil Kedia, Founder, Kedianomics, in a chat with ...
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2 Indian-origin businessmen banned in UK for tax evasion  India TodayTwo Indian-origin restaurateurs have been banned from the formation, promotion or management of a company without permission of the court over tax evasion, ...
A wealth tax could totally remake charity in the United States  Vox.comIn the past year, a massive, predominantly left-wing backlash to mega-philanthropy has broken out. Writers like Anand Giridharadas, Rob Reich, and Rutger ...
Is it time to switch income tax with a sales tax?  The GuardianIs it time for the US to consider switching from income tax to a progressive consumption tax as a way of addressing growing wealth inequality? Many economists ...
7 changes in income tax laws that come into effect from Sept 1  Economic TimesHere is the list of the seven main changes in tax laws that will come into effect from September 1.
What the corporate tax cuts mean for India, in four charts  Forbes IndiaFinance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman slashed corporate tax rates for domestic companies from 30% to 22%, which formed India's biggest revenue source. A look ...
10 Tax Tools to Help Crypto Owners  Bitcoin NewsWhile tax laws on cryptocurrency vary by jurisdiction, there are many useful tools to help you calculate crypto taxes, lower your tax liabilities, and simplify your ...
Not just UP, five state governments bear tax burden of CM and ministers  Times of IndiaIndia News: The state exchequer has been bearing the burden of income tax of the serving chief ministers and their council of ministers in five states, apart from.
What is the tax liability of buying a second house using a home loan?  Economic Times"Income from house property is taxable once the taxpayer gets possession of the property."
Don't reveal PAN on social media, Income Tax department warns  LivemintThe Income Tax department has asked all PAN card holders to not share their Permanent Account Number on social media.The I-T department has an online ...
Higher road tax in 9 states pushes up cost of cars  Economic TimesCars on-road price increases from Rs 5k for low-end models to Rs 57k for high end ones.
Bill Gates 'wouldn't be against a wealth tax' — here's how it could affect his fortune  CNBCDespite being the world's second richest man, Bill Gates has been a frequent supporter of higher taxes on America's most wealthy. Democratic presidential ...
Stocks edge higher; India shares surge on tax cut: Markets wrap  Hindustan TimesAsian stocks saw modest gains on reduced volumes after a lackluster U.S. session. Indian equities and the rupee surged after the country cut its corporate tax ...
How to use NPS to reduce your income tax this year  LivemintYou should start planning for income tax if you have not done so far. Among other options, you could closely look at NPS or National Pension Scheme to save ...
Soon seniors will have their own IRS tax form  msnNOWFiling an IRS tax return is likely to be simpler next year for at least 10% of the 150 million Americans who do so. That's because there'll be a new 1040 form ...
Govt Move to Cut Corporate Tax Will Boost Net Income of Companies, Says Moody's  News18New Delhi: Moody's Investors *Service* on Friday said the government's move to cut corporate tax rate will boost net income of Indian firms, and is a credit positive ...
Lower corporate tax will prop up earnings numbers: Nilesh Shah, Envision Capital  Moneycontrol.comReduction of corporate tax was the kind of stimulus which the industry and markets were waiting for, Nilesh Shah, MD & CEO, Envision Capital, said in an ...
What to expect from the Direct Tax Code  Forbes IndiaA report, which aims to overhaul the Income Tax Act, has not been released to the public, but its recommendations are expected to cover four primary areas.
Farm bodies exempted from 2% tax at source on payments above ₹1 crore  LivemintNEW DELHI : To give relief to the rural economy, the government has exempted agriculture produce marketing committees (APMCs) from the purview of the 2% ...
Is interest paid on foreign home loan tax-deductible in India?  Moneycontrol.comInterest on housing loan paid outside India can be claimed as a deduction in calculating income from house property, only if some important conditions are met.
By paying tax Shivakumar cannot turn tainted property into untainted, ED tells court  India TodayJust by paying the tax on it Congress leader D K Shivakumar cannot turn his tainted property into untainted one, the Enforcement Directorate said Thursday ...
College student tried to hack into Trump’s taxes by creating a fake FAFSA application  The VergeTwo college students are facing federal prison time for attempting to hack into President Trump's tax returns, as reported by CyberScoop. Andrew Harris, 24, and ...
Amid Slowdown, Cars Get Pricer Due To Road Tax Hike In 9 States  ZigWheels.comPrice hike ranges from Rs 5000 to Rs 57000 (on-road) depending upon the model.
Maruti Suzuki, Eicher Motors, Ashok Leyland stocks rise up to 16% after corporate tax cut  Business TodaySensex and Nifty have gained over 5% in today's trade. Shares of HDFC Bank, Eicher Motors saw their biggest gain in 20 years. All 30 scrips under Sensex ...

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