If you’ve avoided filing tax returns for several years, despite being required to, there’s no time better than now to do so! You may have a fear that the IRS will come knocking on your door one of these days and put you in handcuffs, but this is most likely not the case.
You should file your past due returns as soon as you can, especially if you think you will owe taxes, to stop the accumulation of penalties and interest. The IRS may have put together a Substitute Filed Return (SFR) for you, but you can still file your complete return for the year. The IRS takes the information that is reported to them by third party filers, such as your W-2, 1099, K-1, or 1098. They will send you a bill for your tax due based on this information, but things that aren’t reported to them, such as charitable contributions and business expenses do not get figured into their SFR.
Once you’ve decided to go ahead and get those lingering returns filed, you’ll have to prepare them and mail them in past due returns cannot be electronically filed. If you don’t think that you have all of the documents you need to file your tax return, you can sign a Form 2848, Power of Attorney, which authorizes your tax preparer to obtain this information from the IRS for you.
If you were self-employed, you’ll have to compile your income and expenses for the year to be reported. It may be easiest to have a professional accountant or bookkeeper help you with this. Although filing these tax returns may seem like an overwhelming task, but hiring a professional will help ensure the process is a painless as possible for you.