Dear Certified Letter,
What is the date that they prepared the substitute tax return for you? That is the date that you start to count the 10 years of collection. Eventually, you have to hire a tax return preparer to help you.
So called "get this to go away", let me give you some suggestions on the proper procedure benefiting to the taxpayer.
1) Usually, when the IRS prepares a substitute for return, they don't give us all the credits or deductions. So, you may need to file a tax return to reduce your tax liabilities.
2) Once you file the tax return, if this is a tax refund, you probably will not receive it because the year of refund claim allowed is past.
3) If it is tax due, you see whether you can pay in full or not. If not, you can request an installment payment plan.
4) If they asserted penalty, then, you can send in a request for penalty abatement with reasonable cause(s).
5) Timely responding to all the notices is most important thing and don't let the notices become overdue. Respond within the time given, say one month.
6) Find a professional, even the HR Block, can help you with this matter.
Also, if you are current in filing tax returns or making payments for the current tax years, they are more forgiving towards the past tax return penalties. -- not tax.
Fiona Chen, MPA, Ph.D., CPA, ABV, CFF, CITP