What To Do With Your Unfiled Tax Returns

What To Do With Your Unfiled Tax Returns

Taxpayers have to file a tax return every year. According to IRS estimates, more than 7.5 million taxpayers fail to file a required return each year. This can cause late penalties and fines. To get back in a good standing with the IRS you are required to file your unfiled tax returns as fast as possible to get a minimal penalty. 

How to File Back Return Taxes

If you fail to file taxes in time it may cause you many problems. When you have missed your unfiled tax returns it should be best you file it back as soon as possible. You may now wonder how to file unfiled taxes. We are here to guide you through all you need to know. 

Collect All Necessary Documents and Information 

First, you need to start gathering documents and other necessary papers. Request your wages and income transcripts from the IRS. You will also need W2’s, 1099’s and other relevant forms. Gather detailed information of your IRS account, review your deduction situation and credits. You can also directly contact the IRS for all details. 

Locate Necessary Tax Forms

While filing back unfiled returns you may need extra forms or documents. For example, if you are preparing a late individual tax return for 2016, you have to use Form 1040 for 2016. If you face problems about the forms you can contact the IRS without hesitation. 

Consult Expert Tax Professional or Software Programmes  

Process of submitting unfiled tax returns is a little bit complicated and you may face problems dealing with it. So an expert’s consultation will be of great help for you. But It’s completely up to you whether or not you will get professional help. 

Also you can take help from many softwares. But in this case you should keep in mind that you have to use the software according to the year you are paying tax for. 

Calculate Tax Keeping Penalties in Mind 

As you are paying your due tax it is usual to be penalized. So when it comes to paying the tax you need to calculate everything. Also keep other offers in compromise that the IRS may suggest to you. 

Submit the Tax Returns to Appropriate IRS Unit 

The sooner you submit your due taxes the better it is for you. But you can’t make any mistakes. So double check every detail and then file your due tax. Go through your IRS transcripts and check if all your incomes and bank account details are enlisted to properly calculate your income tax returns and other dues. Also try to get a copy of your return filed tax as a proof. 

Why Should You File Your Due Taxes Now

Taxpayers need to pay a certain amount of tax every year. But even if you miss your unfiled tax returns there is nothing to get anxious about. You can submit it later but it may cause you a penalty. The longer you take the more misery it will create for you. So get your tax bill from the IRS and pay it as quick as possible. 

Claim Tax Refunds 

If you don’t file your returns it will hold your tax refunds. The IRS has the authority to freeze your refund unless you file your unpaid tax. You must file your unfiled tax return to claim it within 3 years of the return due date. 

Get on a Good Understanding with the IRS 

Tax paying and related stuff are way more complicated than it seems. Having due taxes can create pressure on you. The IRS has the liberty to charge you fines according to the laws. So it will be better to create a good understanding with the IRS by filing the unfiled tax return. 

Avoid Issues in Taking Loans 

If you have due taxes of prior years it may cause you problems in obtaining loans. Loan approvals need copies of your tax filing. If you delay submitting it, the loan claiming process will also be delayed. 

What if You Owe More Than You Can Pay 

If you have due tax returns of many years and now you have to pay more than you can, you can ask for additional 60-120 days from the IRS to collect the due amount. The IRS will provide you with some extra time. 

What if You Don’t File Tax Due Willingly 

When you have tax dues of the past year, it should be a concern for you. But if you don’t pay back the tax voluntarily, the IRS files a substitute return on your behalf. This might not benifit you in getting credits for deduction and exemption. Rather you will recieve notice from the IRS to file your unfiled tax. You will get Notice of Deficiency CP3219N (90-day letter). This indicates you need to file your past due tax return in 90 days. If you have received CP3219N notice you will lose the opportunity to request an extension to file. 

What to Do If You Have Wrong Information Enlisted in IRS Account 

The IRS monitors every detail of what you earn, what  your income sources are and calculates your tax according to that. So you need to provide every information in their record or you will face problems. If you have anything missing or any extra information enlisted, contact directly to the IRS and resolve the matter.

What is the statute of limitation in Filing Back Tax Returns

The IRS prefers that you file all your tax returns in time. But if you have not filed taxes for years, the IRS would want you to file back all of your unpaid tax. Basically the IRS requires you to file the last six years of tax returns to get in a good standing. Even in some incidents, they can go back more than six years. State taxing laws may differ from state to state. 

But if you intend to claim tax refunds and tax credits, there is a limit on how far back you can file a tax return. You will have to file your taxes within three years of the tax return’s original due date to claim tax refunds and credits. Due to failure to file within three years of the due date you can end up owing even more taxes. Also you can no longer claim the lucrative tax credits. 

Important FAQs of Unfiled Tax Returns 

Can You Go to Jail for not Paying Tax

Yes, neglecting tax is considered a serious issue. Though the IRS provides a taxpayer with multiple opportunities to pay their taxes even if they have due . But if someone still ignores only then the authority goes for action. 

What Happens If You Ignore the IRS and Do not File?

In such cases the IRS files a return on behalf of you. It is called “Substitute for Return” or “SFR”. 

Can You E-file a Prior Year Return?

Obviously you can. There are many tax softwares that allow you to do so. If you have proper documents and forms you can easily e-file your previous year tax returns. 


Tax paying is a very important factor for a responsible citizen. Sometimes you may fail to file your tax in time. But rather than getting tensed, you should pay the due taxes as soon as possible. 

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