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succeed-1987
New Member

I haven't filed my taxes in a while, what should be the first thing I do?

 
3 Replies
xmasbaby0
Level 15

I haven't filed my taxes in a while, what should be the first thing I do?

We do not know what you mean by a "while."   You are too late to get a tax refund for any tax year earlier than 2018, though.   If you owe tax then you still need to pay.  In order to prepare tax returns you need your income documents like any W-2's or 1099's showing how much you earned or received, and you need information about your own dependents -- if any--- like their Social Security numbers and dates of birth.

 

 

Each tax year has to be filed separately using the forms for the specific tax year.  They cannot be combined in any way--do not even put them in the same envelope when you mail them.  Software for past years is available back to 2017.  Any earlier years can only be prepared on paper forms by hand--and those refunds have been forfeited now.

 

The current online program can only be used for a 2020 return--no other year.  And if you did not file a 2019 return you will have trouble e-filing 2020.  When it asks for your 2019 AGI try using zero.  If zero does not work then you have to print, sign and mail 2020.

 

 

Online preparation and e-filing for 2017, 2018 and 2019 is permanently closed.

 

To file a return for a prior tax year

 If you need to prepare a return for 2017, 2018, or 2019 you can purchase and download desktop software to do it, then print, sign,  and mail the return(s)

https://turbotax.intuit.com/personal-taxes/past-years-products/

You may also want to explore purchasing the software from various retailers such as Amazon, Costco, Best Buy, Walmart, Sam’s, etc.

Remember to prepare your state return as well—if you live in a state that has a state income tax.

 

 

https://ttlc.intuit.com/community/state-taxes/help/how-do-i-contact-my-state-department-of-revenue/0... 

 

When you mail a tax return, you need to attach any documents showing tax withheld, such as your W-2’s or any 1099’s.  Use a mailing service that will track it, such as UPS or certified mail so you will know the IRS/state received the return.

Federal and state returns must be in separate envelopes and they are mailed to different addresses.  Read the mailing instructions that print with your tax return carefully so you mail them to the right addresses.

 

Note:  The desktop software you need to prepare the prior year return must be installed/downloaded to a full PC or Mac.  It cannot be used on a mobile device.

 

If you are getting a refund, there is not a penalty for filing past the deadline.  If you owe taxes, the interest/penalties will be calculated by the IRS based on how much you owe and when they receive your return and payment. The IRS will bill you for this; it will not be calculated by TurboTax.

 

Refunds for tax years 2016 or earlier have been forfeited and will not be paid to you even if shown on the tax return form.  But if you owe tax due, you will still have to pay, and you will be billed later for the interest and penalties owed.

 

 

 

W-2's come from your employers.   You might need to phone, drop in, email and/or snail mail an old employer to make sure they know where to send your W-2.

 

There are over a dozen kinds of 1099's.  A 1099Misc  or 1099NEC is typically issued by an individual or business for whom you performed work as an independent contractor, so seek a copy from them if you did not save yours.  Many of the other types of 1099's are issued by banks, brokerages and other financial institutions from which you can seek copies.

 

 

To get a copy of a W-2 from Social Security https://faq.ssa.gov/en-us/Topic/article/KA-02501

https://www.irs.gov/help-resources/tools-faqs/faqs-for-individuals/frequently-asked-tax-questions-an...

 

 

 

 

You can get a wage and income transcript from the IRS:  It will not show the actual W-2, 1099’s, etc, but will show the income information the IRS received.  It will not, however, show your state information. It will only show the federal information.

https://www.irs.gov/individuals/get-transcript

**Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to offer the most correct information possible. The poster disclaims any legal responsibility for the accuracy of the information that is contained in this post.**
fanfare
Level 15

I haven't filed my taxes in a while, what should be the first thing I do?

other tax software providers still offer software for earlier years, including years before 2017.

xmasbaby0
Level 15

I haven't filed my taxes in a while, what should be the first thing I do?

@succeed-1987 And.....if you are way back in the weeds with filing tax returns that are going to be complicated ones, you should seek local paid tax help instead of trying to do it yourself.  If you owe a lot, a paid preparer knows how to negotiate with the IRS.  Tell us a bit more about your situation and how many years you are behind in filing.

**Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to offer the most correct information possible. The poster disclaims any legal responsibility for the accuracy of the information that is contained in this post.**
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