I haven’t filed my taxes in 8-10 years. I want to get this cleared up but I’m afraid I’ll be in deep sh#! with the IRS.

 In Question of the Day

Question:

I recently lost my job at a credit union. I haven’t filed in 8-10 year because as each year goes by I got more afraid to file thinking that the penalties wouldn’t be worth the hassle. Yea, not the best thinking on my part but I need some advice on how to get this handled.
I know I need to contact my old employer and get copies of my w2s for at least the past ten years. I’ve never made more than 30k each year that I was employed there. My paychecks always had state and federal taxes taken out of them as well.
How does this work? Does the IRS just keep the refunds I never claimed? Would I possibly owe ridiculous amounts in penalty fees?

Answer:

It’s entirely possible you were due refunds for each unfiled return. If that’s the case:

  • There is no penalty or interest due for any unfiled return claiming a refund.
  • You will be unable to claim refunds for tax years 2012 and older, unless you have some pretty extreme mitigating circumstances.
  • You are running out of time to claim a refund for 2013. You must file that federal return on or before 4/18/2017 to be eligible to claim your refund.

The fastest way to obtain your Forms W-2 would be to contact the employer ASAP. For now, you must prioritize that 2013 return and get it filed before the April 15 deadline.
After the 2013 return is filed, work on 2016, and then 2014 and 2015. Once any one of these returns is processed, IRS may issue a notice requesting the remaining unfiled returns, possibly as far back as 2011. If this is the case, IRS will hold your refunds on your tax account until every required return is processed.

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