Need to file a past due return?
Take action now, or you may face additional interest and penalties.
Filing a past year return may not be as difficult as you think, and this information can really help you. See Next steps for filing your past due returns.
Whatever you do, don't delay. It can cost you money.
You may be entitled to personal exemptions, deductions, and credits that can lower your tax. But you can only claim these if you file a return (See Example showing how filing a tax return can benefit you for more information).
You will avoid having more interest and penalties accumulating on top of your tax debt (See Example for more information).
You may be entitled to a refund. However, to get your refund, you must file a tax return within three years of the original due date of the return, or two years from the time you paid your tax (See Example for more information).
You stand to lose social security benefits on income from self-employment. The Social Security Administration relies on information from your filed tax return to calculate social security benefits. For your income to be reported to the Social Security Administration, you must file a tax return.
These are important practical reasons for filing your return: Copies of filed tax returns must be submitted to financial institutions, mortgage lenders/brokers, etc. whenever you want to buy or refinance a home, get a loan for a business, or apply for federal aid for higher education.
So what will happen to me if I don't file a return or contact the IRS?
The IRS will file a substitute return for you. But this return is based only on information the IRS has from other sources. Thus, if the IRS prepares this substitute return, it will not include any additional exemptions or expenses you may be entitled to and may overstate your real tax liability.
Once the tax is assessed the IRS will start the collection process, which can include placing a levy on wages or bank accounts or filing a federal tax lien against your property.
Even if the IRS has already filed a substitute return, it still makes sense for you to file your own return to make sure you take advantage of all the exemptions, credits, and deductions you are allowed. The IRS will generally adjust your account to reflect the correct figures.
If your issues are not addressed here, you can call the IRS toll-free at (866) 681-4271.
- Next steps for filing your past due returns
- Understanding your notices regarding past due filing
- Common mistakes when filing past due returns
- Frequently asked questions for past due return filers
- Example showing how filing a tax return can benefit you
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