From business professionals to individuals in low-paying jobs, taxes can seem like a burden. In addition to having money withheld from paychecks in order to go toward taxes, following the steps to actually file the proper tax forms during this time of year can seem like an even greater inconvenience. If you do not fully understand the right way to go about filing your taxes, you may feel less inclined to go through the process.
For whatever reason, you may not have filed your taxes for a few years. Now, you know you need to address your situation, but you may feel hesitant to do so out of fear of the possible consequences. Taxes are one of those certain events that anyone with an income must deal with, and filing after a few years can prove more beneficial than continuing to ignore your obligations.
Getting affairs in order
First, you should feel proud of yourself for wanting to take steps to address your taxes even if it has been a while since your last filing. Next, you will want to get your documents and forms in order so you can have all the information needed to address multiple years of tax returns. Steps that can help you complete your tax returns include:
- Organizing income-related documents: These records may be your W-2 forms from your employer or a 1099 form indicating work as an independent contractor. The information provided in these documents will detail your earned income, withheld taxes and other pertinent information.
- Obtaining missing records: If you do not have all of your income or tax-related documents on hand, you can request copies of those records from your employer or the Internal Revenue Service, depending on the type of documents needed.
- Filing your forms: If you have not filed your taxes in the last three years, you can still file all the necessary forms for those years online. However, if it has been longer than three years, you will need to file subsequent years' returns using hard copies.
- Waiting on the IRS: Once you file and submit your forms, you will then need to wait for the IRS to process your current year's and past years' returns. This can take some time, and after processing, you will then need to address the taxes you owe.
While it is likely you will owe money for not filing your taxes, you could actually be in line for a refund. The outcomes of your filings will depend on your specific circumstances.
If you felt intimidated by filing one year's worth of tax information, the idea of filing for multiple years may have you feeling even more reluctant to move forward with the process. Fortunately, you do not have to try to handle your affairs alone. By consulting with a tax attorney, you could gain the insight of a legal professional who understands the laws surrounding taxes and who could provide you with information specific to your situation.