Filing a tax return can be complicated. Doing so after the deadline has passed can be even more confusing. Although you may be confused about what to do next, if you follow the appropriate steps you can file unfiled taxes in no time at all. Remember, it is best to move forward sooner rather than later. The longer you wait the more money you are going to owe the IRS in the end.
The first step to file unfiled taxes is collecting all the necessary documents. This includes 1099s and W-2s for the years you are filing. If you are itemizing deductions you need all the proper receipts and records. Nothing changes just because you are filing late. You should treat this just as you would a return that you are filing on time. If you are unable to locate a 1099 or W-2 you can contact your employer. They should be able to provide you with the information you are looking for.
If you are filing a return for a past year you must make sure you use the right forms. For example, if you are filing for 2009 you need to use the forms from that year - not for the current year. You can find tax forms dating back to the 1980s on the IRS website. Along with this, most state websites offer forms from previous years. If you cannot find the forms you are looking for contact the IRS and let them know what you are trying to do. They should be able to help you track down the proper information.
Do I need to hire a tax professional? This is not mandatory, but most people recommend it. It is difficult enough filing a return when you are doing so on time. If you are dealing with unfiled taxes it makes good sense to hire a professional with expertise and knowledge. If this does not work for you, find a tax software program that can show you the way. Any bit of help is better than none at all. If you hire a tax professional you can rely on him to do all of the work for you.
When filing old tax returns you are not able to e-file. Instead, you have to mail your returns to the IRS. Make sure you send your forms to the appropriate address. If you received a notice from the IRS it will include an address for which you to send your return when complete.
Once you move through these steps you are closer than ever to being in full compliance with the IRS. Even if you are unable to pay what you owe, make sure you always file a return. You can always strike a deal with the IRS, such as an installment agreement, to ensure that they eventually get paid.
This guide to file unfiled taxes is simple to follow if you move forward one step at a time. Above all else, if you have questions or need assistance contact the IRS or hire a tax professional.