If you have back taxes and the IRS hasn’t yet pressed serious charges, begin by searching for back tax help. Often, they will advise you to file a back tax return. Here are a few steps to follow in filing this special tax return.
- Start by finding and collecting your tax documents from those years where you have back taxes. This includes finding your old W-2s or 1099 forms and gathering any supporting records or receipts that help show eligibility to claim credits and deductions on your taxes. Even if you don’t currently have back taxes, we recommend you keep your old tax information for a period between three and six years, in case something comes up in the future.
- If you don’t still have any of your documentation, you can request it from the IRS. To do this, file your 4506-T form to request a transcript of Tax Return. This will help you get copies of W-2s, 1099s and 1098s that you need. Keep in mind that it may take the IRS as many as 50 days to process your 4506-T form and return the documentation you have requested.
- Download the previous year’s IRS tax forms, so you can file your back tax return on the form that was used in the year where your back taxes collected.
- Next, prepare your tax return, often with the help of a tax lawyer, to ensure that everything is filled out thoroughly and correctly.
- Finally, file your forms with the IRS and include as large a payment as you can afford, to avoid large interest charges and tax penalties.