How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Merlo Your Own Question
Merlo, Accountant
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 9783
Experience:  25+ years tax consulting. Specializing in returns for US citizens living abroad
Type Your Tax Question Here...
Merlo is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

My husband has not filed taxes for years, even though taxes

Resolved Question:

My husband has not filed taxes for years, even though taxes were taken out of his paycheck, he also has done contract work but not full time. He had a heart attack last year and only works part time or when contract work comes in. Can he file taxes on his own or should he contact a tax attorney?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Tax
Expert:  Merlo replied 7 years ago.

Hello JA Customer,


Your husband really does not need to hire a tax attorney, at least for just getting his tax filings up to date.


When a taxpayer has not filed taxes in many years, generally the IRS requires that you start by going back and filing for the previous 6 tax years. In most cases, that will be the extent of how far back you need to go, as the IRS does not even keep tax records which are more than 7 years old.


If you no longer have copies of your W-2 forms and 1099 forms, you will need to start by getting that information. This can be done by ordering a Tax Transcript from the IRS for each of the last 6 tax years. A Tax Transcript will not contain actual copies of these forms, but it will be a recap of what was reported to the IRS on those forms. A Tax Transcript is free of charge and generally takes about two weeks to receive. You can order this by calling the IRS at(NNN) NNN-NNNNor by filling out Form 4506-T.


The tax transcripts will show all of your earnings that were reported to the IRS for each year and how much tax was paid in. Once you have that information, you can then complete your tax returns for those years and see where you stand. For any years where you paid in enough tax and no additional tax is due, then you will also not owe any penalties for late filing. For any year where there is still additional tax due, you would also owe penalties and interest for the late filing and late payment. Once you submit your returns to the IRS, if any penalties or interest apply, they would notify you by mail of the total amount due.


Once you have determined the total amount which is due, if you cannot afford to pay the amount all at one time, you may set up an installment plan with the IRS to pay off your tax bill over a period of time.



Thank you JA Customer



Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Do you mean he only pays for the previous 6 years? The tax attorney told him he would have owe taxes from the year 2000.

Expert:  Merlo replied 7 years ago.

Hello again JA Customer,


That is highly unlikely. Technically he could be liable for taxes for any year that he did not file or pay. But the reality is that the IRS very rarely ever goes back further than 6 years.


By law, the IRS is required to destroy all tax records that are 7 years old, so even they would not have records going back to 2000.



Thank you JA Customer



Merlo and 2 other Tax Specialists are ready to help you