Hello again emer,
I would have to assume that all or at least a good portion of your refund is due to the earned income credit being claimed, otherwise the IRS would not be asking you for this information.
The problem is that the earned income credit is a credit which is available to taxpayers who are in a low income bracket, and the credit is actually for an amount over and above any tax you ever actually paid in. When that is the case, if you report earnings from self employment, the IRS wants to see proof that you really had that income.
If you had been employed in a regular job, then the IRS would have earnings records from your employer. However, in the case of someone like you who is self employed, it becomes your obligation to provide proof of the employment.
In order to be eligible to receive the earned income credit, a taxpayer must have at least some income for the year. The problem is that there are some taxpayers who try to "abuse" this credit by reporting
a small amount of income from self employment, just to qualify for the credit, even though they really had no income at all. That is why the IRS asks for proof of this type employment, and so you will have to show them something that can substantiate that you actually had this income.
I realize that it may be difficult for you to come up with such proof after all these years, but that will be the only way you can have this refund released and sent to you.
If you can possibly contact any of the people that you worked for during those years and have them sign an affidavit or statement which verifies that you performed babysitting services for them, this might satisfy the IRS requirements. But you will definitely need to show them something which verifies that you did have income from babysitting for those years, otherwise they will not release these refunds.
Thank you emer, and please let me know if you have more questions.