In a case where a taxpayer has not filed a return in a number of years, the IRS requires that you start compliance
for the previous 6 tax years
. In the majority of cases, they will not make you go back any further than 6 years. That being the case, at this point in time I would recommend to start your filings with the 2007 tax year rather than going back to the year 2000. This is assuming that as you stated, you had no income
in the years 2001 through 2006. If you had no income during those years, then you are not required to file a return.
You will not need an attorney or anyone else to represent you at this point. Right now it will just be a matter of getting your paper work submitted to see where you stand. Since you have lived in Ireland for the past 8 years, you will qualify for the foreign earned income
exlusion. That amount varies each year, but for the 2009 tax year the exclusion amount is $91,400. What that means is that you are allowed to exclude up to $91,400 from any earned income you have in Ireland before any additional earned income becomes subject to tax here in the US.
Even if you owe no tax because of being able to claim this exclusion, you are still required to file a return. But no taxes will be due if your earned income is below this amount, and therefore you would also owe no penalties for the late filing. Hence there would be no reason for you to obtain representation.
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Thank you missy and let me know if you have more questions.