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The Guy Behind the Tree
The Guy Behind the Tree, Experienced Investor & Financier
Category: Tax
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What do I do if I havent filed in years

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I have not filed in years, no exuse. I do want to get back on track and I am not sure what to do. The IRS has never contacted me, state or federal. Will I need an Atorney?
It is never too late to voluntarily file a tax return for a prior year (or years) where you didn't file. You will have to reconstruct your records. I strongly recommend having this return prepared by a professional (CPA or retired enrolled agent) since you are going to get some questions even if you file voluntarily.

Such a filing shows good faith and MIGHT lead to reduced penalties that would otherwise be imposed. You will also cease "being a fugitive" and will have a clean start.

There are likely to be penalties and interest. Your professional can negotiate on your behalf to waive or reduce the penalties - no guarantees that this will work but it's worth a try.

Your dollar amounts are modest compared to the "big fish" the IRS is after, your chances are excellent of clearing your records and getting a "fresh start" at a modest cost.

Many local unemployment offices can access your W-2's from prior years. You will want to appear there in person to make the request. If they have access to the data, it can be provided while you wait.

You would think that the IRS, having already received THEIR copies of your 1099’s and W-2’s, would be able to provide them to you if you wanted to file your tax return. You can ask the IRS to send you your "payer transcript" for the years you need. This is a computer printout out of all your tax-related documents that have been filed with the IRS by entities that have paid you money. This includes 1099’s, W-2’s and other documents. The Taxpayer Advocate can expedite your request.

If these efforts fail, you can, as a last resort, get a copy of your W-2s from prior years from the Social Security Administration. There may be a delay in their response getting back to you (which is like saying the sun MAY come up in the morning).

Here is the SSA link in case you want to pursue that avenue:

Good luck!
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