Each year there are record numbers of people who do not file their income tax return. The reasons for non-filing vary from person to person but to the IRS if you are required to file then there is no excuse. If you receive a letter for non-filing here are some steps to take that will help you start the process.
Pull Up Your Tax History
Unsure of what tax years you still need to file? Then give the IRS a call. They can pull up your account with information that you provide over the phone. For example, your tax history shows the years that you have filed a return, the amount of your refund or any amount that is due. If you have made payments to your account they can also help in determining the amounts that have been applied and the remaining balance.
Chances are if you are behind in tax filing that there are documents you may be missing. If you misplace or do not receive items that will help you compute taxable income then check into the following sources to get the information that you need.
Employers and Clients. Each year your employer is required to submit a record of the earnings and income taxes that they take out of your gross pay. This information is reported to you and the federal, state, and local tax agencies on Form W-2. Likewise, if you perform work as an independent contractor, the income that you receive is reported to tax authorities on Form 1099. You can request a duplicate from employers and clients.
Financial Institutions. If you earn taxable interest or dividends from investments the companies can supply you with copies of the amounts to report. Likewise, as you make payments for things like mortgage interest and other tax deductible interest expenses, you should obtain that information as well.
Internal Revenue Service (IRS). In cases where you are unable to get copies of forms W-2 and 1099, you can contact the IRS to request a tax transcript for each of the years that you need to file. This will give you the data that you need for income. But what about the tax deductions that you may be eligible to claim? First, pull out the old receipts that you have. A good place to start is with your credit card and bank statements as these will give you an idea of where deductions may be found. It is best to have receipts and copies of cancelled checks to support the write-offs that you claim. Before taking any deductions it is wise to read up on the eligibility requirements. Filing late is one thing but filing late and claiming the wrong deductions and credits is an entirely different matter.
File the Return
Once you have the information you need then you can prepare and mail taxes to the correct filing location. Check with the IRS to determine the tax filing center that should receive your return.