How to File Taxes For Previous Years

If you’re looking to file taxes for previous years, the good news is that you may still get refunds from the IRS. 

Q: I’m trying to get pointed in the right direction. I was in a motorcycle accident back in 2000. I have not filed taxes since then because I really haven’t been working.

I barely made over $18,000 a year since the accident. But in the last couple of years, I started making good money again. I want to get everything straightened out before the IRS comes looking for me.

Do you have any suggestions? The funny thing is that I would have gotten money back every year just because I wasn’t making enough money to owe any taxes.

Thanks for your help.

A: We can tell that not paying your taxes has been eating away at you. And you’ve just felt stuck – not really knowing how to get back on the right side of the law.

Well, good for you. We applaud your desire to get on the right side of the IRS. It’s always better if you come forward before the IRS comes looking for you. Plus, if you decide to buy a house, and set down roots, and take advantage of these historic low interest rates, you will need to show past tax returns to help prove income.

The good news is that when you file taxes for the past few years, you might indeed get money back because your income wasn’t too high. But you should look for a tax preparer or enrolled agent who can help you reconstruct your financial life and file all of your back tax returns with the IRS.

You might also have to file state income tax forms for the various states in which you lived during the same periods. Some state tax forms aren’t complicated but if you lived in several states, you may have to go get documentation proving how long you lived in each state during a tax year (unless you moved on January 1 of each year, which is unlikely).

If you want to hire an enrolled agent, then you would go to the National Association of Enrolled Agents, and look for someone who lives near you who can help you with the reconstruction. If you would prefer to work with an accountant, you can look up names at the American Institute of CPA.

Good luck. Let us know how this goes.


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